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Organ Donor Register to be established

1 September 2005

Organ Donor Register to be established

The Labour Government will establish a nation-wide Organ Donation Register next year.

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Health Minister Annette King made the announcement today while releasing Labour's full health policy.

Annette King says Labour is responding to a ground-swell of public opinion that New Zealand needs to improve our rate of organ donations.

"High profile cases like Jonah Lomu's show the value of donated organs, and have helped shape public opinion," she says.

"And the Andy Tookey petition to Parliament, lodged in 2002, has also raised the profile of the need to do better in this area."

Following a major review and consultation on changes to the Human Tissue Act, Labour has decided there is a need to have a comprehensive policy to increase the number of donated organs, Ms King says.

She says the Organ Donation Register will be administered by the Ministry of Health and final details will be worked out in conjunction with District Health Boards and Land Transport NZ.

"The issue of consent has stimulated considerable debate, and the Organ Donation Register will ensure that there is an effective, informed consent process, so that people who have indicated they want to be organ donors have their wishes respected."

Ms King says Labour has already established a national office called Organ Donation New Zealand to raise the profile of organ donations, and to work alongside health professionals and families.

"The Government has also already announced it will cover some of the costs incurred by live donors."

ENDS


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