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Ministry gives poor advice to Health Minister

***MEDIA RELEASE***

GiveLife NZ
13 July 2008

Ministry gives poor advice to Health Minister

'The Minister of Health is hiding behind flawed advice from his officials to avoid doing the right thing and pay organ donors funeral expenses.' Says Andy Tookey of lobby group GiveLife.

The Minister is reported as saying that the government can not pay the funeral costs of organ donors as it would be illegal under the governments' Human Tissue Bill which recently passed into law.

Ministry of Health Spokesperson Deborah Roche confirmed this stance in this weekend's Herald on Sunday article on the topic.

'The Minister and his staff should read their own bill before they try and find yet another excuse not to try and improve our third world donor rates' said Mr.Tookey.

Section 60 of the Bill states:

The Minister may, in his or her discretion, on any terms and conditions he or she thinks fit, and by notice in writing,
exempt a person or persons or a class of persons from compliance with any or all of the provisions of—(a) section 56 (trading in human tissue generally prohibited):

Mr.Tookey is seeking exemption so that he can consider contributing to the funeral costs of LifeSharers members who become organ donors.

LifeSharers members (www.lifesharers.org.nz) direct that should they die in circumstances that make them medically eligible to be organ donors, that their organs should be offered 'first' to other registered organ donors on the LifeSharers database. This in turn will increase the number of registered organ donors and makes the system fairer by offering their organs first to others who would do the same for them if the positions were reversed.


ENDS

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