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Government broadly backs intent of donor approach

10 December 2004 Media Statement

Government broadly backs intent of donor approach

The Government agrees with the intent of Health Select Committee recommendations to maximise organ donation rates, but differs slightly in approach, says Health Minister Annette King.

The Health Select Committee’s recommendations include investigating an option of an organ donor register independent of the Government’s Human Tissue Review.

Ms King says the recommendations are consistent with the Government's strategy to maximise donor rates within the context of good clinical practice. Work currently underway includes:

- Undertaking the Human Tissue Review, including a new consent framework for donation of human tissue. The policy development process for the proposed human tissue legislation covers consent for the use of human tissue, the role of the family and the role of an organ donor register.
- Establishing and funding a new agency to provide education for health professionals on organ and tissue donation and to promote a coordinated approach to public awareness initiatives.
- Considering welfare assistance for live organ donors to reduce financial barriers for those choosing to donate.

Ms King says while the committee report recommended considering a donor register separately from the current Human Tissue Review, the Government believes it should remain within that context.

"This will ensure consistency between policy on donation consent and the role of a register," she says. "If a register is developed independently of the review, it could later have to be redeveloped, to align it with the policy framework."

The Committee also recommended that random sample research is conducted on organ donation, but the Government believes that consultation on the Human Tissue Review already provides a gauge of public awareness and attitudes toward the various donation options, and doesn't support additional research at this time. More than 200 participants attended public meetings, hui and focus groups during that process.

Ms King says the Government will consider advice on the Human Tissue Review in the new year.

Further information is available on the Ministry of Health website at http://www.moh.govt.nz/moh.nsf/wpg_Index/-Human+Tissue+Consultation

ENDS

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