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Cabinet Papers on Human Tissue Review released

2 March 2006

Cabinet Papers on Human Tissue Review released

Ministry of Health policy advice papers on the human tissue legislation review have been released today.

The three Cabinet Papers along with a regulatory impact statement on the Human Tissue Review have been posted on the Ministry of Health website: http://www.moh.govt.nz/publications.

The Ministry's chief clinical advisor, Dr Sandy Dawson, says there has been considerable public interest and discussion about some aspects of the Human Tissue Review, particularly around the area of organ donation.

Currently the regulatory framework for human tissue spans a number of Acts and regulations and a review of the Human Tissue Act was undertaken to bring that legislation up to date to meet the needs of New Zealanders both now and into the future.

The review of the Human Tissue Act between 2003 and 2005 looked at a number of issues including the collection, use, retention, storage and disposal of human tissue and the safety of tissue for therapeutic and non-therapeutic use. It also looked at organ and tissue donation.

Following extensive public consultation the Ministry made policy proposals to Government, which have been released today.

After receiving the policy advice, Government last year announced that a nation-wide Organ Donor Consent Register would be developed during 2006.

The Register will be administered by the Ministry of Health and the details are to be worked out in conjunction with District Health Boards and Land Transport NZ.

A report on a model for delivering a national Organ Donor Consent Register is expected to go to Government in May.

"The Organ Donor Consent Register will ensure that there is an effective and informed consent process, so that people who have indicated they want to be organ donors can have their wishes respected," Dr Dawson says.

"These policy papers relate to a new legislative framework. It is equally important for families to talk to one another about their thoughts and wishes around consenting to organ donation."

The Ministry is supporting other initiatives to maximize organ donation rates, including supporting the work of the national organisation Organ Donation New Zealand.

Work to draft the proposed new human tissue legislation is underway, and this will go through parliamentary and public consultation stages. The aim is to introduce the Bill to the House and refer to Select Committee in 2006.

The Cabinet papers cover a range of issues.

Paper one provides the rationale for a new regulatory framework for the collection, use, retention and disposal of human tissue, including the proposed scope and structure of new legislation. It also proposes the inclusion of a set of overarching principles in new Human Tissue legislation to guide its interpretation and implementation.

Paper Two sets out options for a consent framework for organ/tissue donation from deceased people, including proposals for who can give consent, what requires consent, and how that consent should be recorded.

Paper three sets out proposals for a new regulatory framework for the oversight and management of the therapeutic and non-therapeutic uses of human tissue.

Further information and the Cabinet Papers are available on the Ministry of Health website: http://www.moh.govt.nz/moh.nsf/238fd5fb4fd051844c256669006aed57/40a21654c9 9717cacc2571230076a57a?OpenDocument

ENDS

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