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MOH Organ Donation Stance Contradictory

****FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE****

GiveLife NZ
18 January 2008

MOH Organ Donation Stance Contradictory

Figures released this week by the Australia and New Zealand Organ Donation Registry reveal that although the organ donor rate for last year went up to 38 donors New Zealand was still the lowest in the Western World for the number of donors it has.

"The last time we had 38 donors was in 2002. Despite all the extra funding and rhetoric on fixing the problems we have had from the government we are exactly where we were 6 years ago, in the meantime the waiting list has doubled. In 2002 the waiting list for kidneys alone was 300, as of this week it stands at 606." said Andy Tookey of GiveLife NZ.

The donation registry further reveals that 361 people died whilst on dialysis last year. One woman has been on dialysis for 21 years, with a further 65 people on dialysis for 9 or more years.

The New Zealand organ donor service has rejected any move to follow British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's endorsement of a 'opt off' register as opposed to an 'opt on' one.

In recent media interviews Organ Donation New Zealand have said they are against an 'opt off register' as it would mean taking organs without the consent of the individual. In the same media interview they were against an 'opt on register' as they believe an individual is not capable of giving informed consent to being a donor..... Mr. Tookey is not surprised by the contradictions, "I am well used to the many differing stories that come out on this issue, it appears that they are clutching at straws."

GiveLife NZ will be introducing a new initiative to increase the organ donor rate next month. "It will be fairly controversial, but not as controversial as the presumed consent system currently being debated in the UK. The UK feel the need to use radical measures to increase their donor rate even though they have 15 donors per million of population compared with our 7 donors per million. If anything we need to take more radical measures than them but I am not sure Kiwis are ready for such a huge leap in one go."

National MP Dr.Jackie Blue issued a statement this week calling on the government to justify its stance against an organ donor register. In her media statement "Patients Pay for Labour's Petty Politics on organ donors" she says: "The current Labour Government clearly thinks that there isn't a problem with the availability of organs for transplant, but they should talk to patients on the waiting list."

ENDS

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