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Organ donation bill passes first hurdle

Jackie Blue MP National Party Associate Health Spokeswoman

3 May 2006

Organ donation bill passes first hurdle

National Party Associate Health spokeswoman Dr Jackie Blue is delighted her Member's Bill to change organ donor rules has passed its first hurdle.

The Human Tissue (Organ Donation) Amendment Bill passed its first reading in Parliament today, and will now be referred to the health select committee.

The bill proposes a law change that would prevent anyone from overturning the wishes of a registered organ donor. It will use an informed consent 'opt on' database, where donors will be able to nominate organs they wish to donate.

"This bill acknowledges that the critically low number of organ donors in New Zealand must be addressed. Last year, just 29 people became organ donors," says Dr Blue.

"Clearly, the current system is not working.

"I believe that, if enacted, it will lead to higher donor rates by providing a mechanism that will provide clarity to doctors and to donors' families, as well as respecting donors' wishes."

Dr Blue says there is evidence of a call for change.

A 2004 Colmar Brunton poll asked whether family members should be able to veto a person's wish to be a donor. Eighty per cent said they should not.

"There is growing evidence that people are not happy about the ability of others to veto their wish to be a donor. We can now, at the very least, have a public debate on the issue."

Dr Blue says there is also provision for public education regarding organ donation.

"Countries that have established organ donor registers that have resulted in increased donor rates link their success directly to education and publicity."

ENDS

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