National Organ Donation Program surpasses 10,000 lives saved and improved

National Organ Donation Program surpasses 10,000 lives saved and improved


The latest report on Australian organ donation and transplant outcomes shows that last year, the number of deceased organ donors continued at the record level achieved in 2016.

The Minister with responsibility for the Organ and Tissue Authority, Ken Wyatt AM, said the 2017 Australian Donation and Transplantation Activity Report notes that 510 deceased organ donors and their families, and 273 living donors, saved and improved the lives of 1,675 Australians. A further 9,600 Australians benefited from eye and tissue transplants.

“In 2017, the number of transplant recipients from deceased organ donors under the national program since system reforms began in 2009 passed the 10,000 mark,” Minister Wyatt said.

“This has been achieved through the generosity of 3,464 deceased organ donors and their families, together with the substantial improvements in the health system’s donation capacity and capability over the past nine years.

“The reforms have seen the number of deceased organ donors more than double and the number of Australians receiving a transplant increase by 75 per cent. This is clear progress but there is much more to be done.”

Minister Wyatt said the potential for continued growth is clear, with state and territory outcomes ranging from 36.5 donors per million population (dpmp) to 12.2dpmp, resulting in a national average of 20.7 dpmp.

“In Australia organ donation will only proceed when the organ is medically suitable and can be matched to a recipient,” said the Minister.

“We must continue to work with states and territories to ensure all potential donation and transplantation opportunities are realised and I have written to all jurisdictional Health Ministers highlighting the need for ongoing collaboration.”

Minister Wyatt said a highlight of 2017 was the establishment of the inaugural Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Board, chaired by Dr Mal Washer and responsible for implementing the Government’s continuing organ and tissue donation reform agenda, including a strong focus on working with doctors and hospitals.

The introduction in July of simplified, online donor registration was another significant milestone, designed to increase Australia’s consent rate, which remained at around 60 per cent in 2017. A rate of 70 per cent would place Australia in the world’s top ten performing nations.

“Lifting our national consent rate is fundamental to saving more lives through transplantation,” Minister Wyatt said.

“This can be achieved by increasing the number of people on the Australian Organ Donor Register, and by ensuring the issue of donation is always discussed with families by trained donation specialists in our hospitals.

“Registration has a direct influence on higher consent rates. Last year, nine in ten families agreed to donation when their loved one was a registered donor.

“Further, seven in ten families agreed to donation when a donation specialist was involved in providing support and information to family members.

“The community is a vital partner in our efforts to continue to save and improve more lives. With 1,400 Australians waitlisted at any one time for a transplant, and a further 11,000 people on dialysis, it is crucial that all Australians register and share their donation decision.”

Instant online organ donor registration is available on the DonateLife website.

You can view the 2017 activity report on the DonateLife website.

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