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Ministry bogged down over organ donation

Paul Hutchison MP

23 June 2004

National Associate Health spokesman

Ministry bogged down over organ donation

While people with life threatening diseases wait for transplants, Labour is dithering over obstacles to reform rather than finding solutions to urgent organ donation problems, says National's Associate Health spokesman, Dr Paul Hutchison.

Ministry of Health officials addressing the Health Select Committee today outlined a series of reasons why they have been unable to complete a review of the Human Tissues Act, or to sort out cultural sensitivities and the moratorium on Xeno transplantation.

Dr Hutchison says the Ministry has got bogged down in the detail on organ donation.

"The Minister should be focussing her department on immediate problems surrounding organ donation, instead of concentrating on non-urgent, long-term issues.

"The Minister needs to find ways to ensure willing donors and their relatives can be helped to make informed decisions in a sensitive and timely way."

Despite there being a large number of potentially willing donors, there is a low availability of organs for donation. Intensive care specialists have said it is difficult getting support for donations in a sensitive and well-informed way.

Dr Hutchison says there needs to be only a small increase in donations every year to make a significant difference.

"The Minister needs to urgently provide practical solutions."

ENDS

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