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Give Life Says Health Ministry Misled Parliament

Ministry of Health Misled Parliament

Organ donor reform campaigner Andy Tookey claims that the Ministry of Health misled a Parliamentary Select Committee hearing into organ donation.

The Ministry has recently been travelling around the country gathering the views of the public on whether the law should be changed from the current system of relatives deciding if the deceased should be allowed to be a donor or not, irrespective of the donors’ prior wish.

Dr. Gillian Durham, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Health told the select committee that the views were “evenly split between the donors’ wishes overruling the family wishes and leaving the system as is with a status quo.”

Mr. Tookey of GiveLife NZ who attended all the meetings around the country said “that was not the case. In all venues around 80% were in favour of changing the law to ‘donor wishes prevail’ In fact only two groups which had people involved with organ donation procurement heading those groups voted for status quo. This is not just my view, but also the view of others who attended and even the view of the newspaper reporters who sat in on the consultations. I wonder if Dr. Durham attended the same meetings?”

Mr. Tookey is concerned that for the select committee to make an informed decision they must be in possession of the facts, “not what the Ministry ‘would like to be’ the facts.”

A request under the Official Information Act 1982 to release the submissions for verification has been refused by the Ministry of Health, fuelling further speculation that it may have something to hide.

A recent Colmar Brunton Poll found that 80% of the public felt that their wishes should over ride the wishes of family when it came to organ donation.

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