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Complaint Alleges King May Have Misled Parliament

*****Media Release*****
GiveLife NZ
30 May 2005.

Complaint Alleges that Annette King May Have Misled Parliament

Andy Tookey of organ donation lobby group GiveLife NZ has laid a formal complaint to the Speaker of the House of Representatives alleging that the Minister of Health may have misled Parliament in response to written Parliamentary Questions. He has asked that it be referred to the Privileges Committee for further action.

The allegation comes after shadow Minister of Health Dr. Paul Hutchison MP asked a series of Parliamentary Questions on the practice of organ donation. The Minister’s reply to the questions said that data is collected on people on the transplant waiting list in respect to hearts, lungs and livers, but the information is not collected about those on the kidney transplant waiting list.

Andy Tookey was incredulous that detailed data would be collected on all organs but with the ‘exception’ of the most transplanted organ, the kidney, so set about searching for the data himself.

He found that not only is the data available but it is supplied by Annette Kings’ own Ministry, the Ministry of Health.

“It’s no wonder they wished those figures did not exist, they do not paint a pretty picture.” Said Mr. Tookey. “In one answer Annette King says the waiting list for kidneys is 350, though according to the data from her own Ministry there are 1700 people on dialysis, you only have dialysis if you have kidney failure, if you have kidney failure you need a transplant….”

“When asked in further Parliamentary Questions why she said the data is not collected when clearly it is, she responded that it was a “snapshot” of December so therefore not accurate.”

The ‘accurate’ figures were published on 31 March 2005.

Mr. Tookey’s complaint is on two points. The first being that she said that the data was not collected, when it is, even if it is a ‘snapshot’ (and not palatable) it is still data collected for analysis.

The second point is that the information she says was not available was by her own admission, released on 31 March. Dr. Hutchison’s questions asked for the figures ‘as of’ 6 April 2005 not before 31 March as she is implying.

A further study of the data that apparently is not collected reveals some interesting facts as below:

1. Of the1699 on dialysis 882 were Maori/Pacific Islanders.
2. In the past 5 years there have only been 9 Maori donors (1999-2003)
3. In the past 5 years there have only been 2 Pacific Islander donors (1999-2003)
4. In the same period of time in Australia they had 5 Maori donors
5. Total number of donors for the same period of time = 195 (in NZ)
6. Type 2 Diabetes makes up 94% of those on dialysis
7. NZ is the lowest in the Western World for the number of donors it has at 9.8 dpm (2004)
8. Poland was below NZ with 8.1dpm but through extensive 'awareness' have now gone to 14.6 dpm (2004)
9. In the past 5 years in Australia the Organ Donor Coordinator requested organs from the deceased family 201 times
10. In the past 5 years in NZ the Organ Donor Coordinator requested organs from the deceased family NIL times
11. In 2004 families who donated organs had no contact whatsoever with the Donor Coordinator either by face to face or by telephone in 55% of cases (compared with Australia 2%)
12. In the past 5 years Australia has used 31 non heart beating donors to boost their supply - NZ has used 3
13. In 50% of donors their occupation was not known (2004)
14. Consent for hearts to be used for transplant was given by 30 families - only 7 hearts were retrieved though - only 6 used (2004) (Compared with 2003 when there were 35 consents - 25 retrievals)
15. Total donors for 2004 = 40, of that 40 there were no request for bone donation in 30 cases, in the 10 that were requested all 10 were given consent, though incredibly none of the 10 were retrieved (if they didn't need any bone why did they request it 10 times?)
16. Time from admission to brain death was not known in 27% of donors (2003) Compared to Australia at 0% (in fact 0% for the past 4 years)
17. Time from ventilation to brain death unknown in 25% of donors (2003) (Australia 0%)
18. Of the 40 donors (2004) the driving licence of only 10 were checked for donor status
19. In answer to written question 04466 (2005) Annette King states that one organ donor can save the life of, or improve the quality of life for up to 10 people with solid organs and 'a number of recipients' from bone donation. though in 2004 the average number of organs transplanted was just 2.8

All the above data was provided by the NZ organ donor service/MOH for ANZOD (Australia and New Zealand Organ Donor Registry) Figures to December 31st. 2004

*****ENDS*****

For more information:
www.givelife.org.nz

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