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Strategy to lift deceased organ donation rates

Strategy to lift deceased organ donation rates
Minister of Health Jonathan Coleman has launched a national strategy which aims to lift the rate of deceased organ donations and therefore increase the number of people who can receive a transplant.

“Organ transplantation is a life-saving treatment that is often the best, or only, option for people with organ failure. It can not only improve a person’s quality of life, but also their life expectancy,” says Dr Coleman.

“For example, for someone with end stage kidney disease they either need a transplant or hundreds of hours of dialysis each year.

“A record number of organ transplants were carried out in 2016, with 61 deceased donors providing 181 organs to be transplanted.

“We’ve been making great strides in the area, with the rate increasing by 57 per cent in the past four years, but our rates are relatively low compared with other countries which highlights that there’s room for improvement.”

The Deceased Organ Donation and Transplantation National Strategy launched today follows wide public consultation and work with the sector.

The strategy’s priorities include to:
• Further increase public awareness of organ donation;
• Make it easier for people to register, update and share their wish to donate with family and clinicians;
• Increase the hospital-based capacity for deceased organ donation to take place;
• Empower intensive care staff to discuss the organ donation process;
• Establish a national agency to lead the implementation of the strategy, and have a clear mandate to increase our rates deceased organ donation and transplantation.

“To support this we’re investing $500,000 in 2017/2018 to increase specialist medical and nursing organ donation capability within some ICUs,” says Dr Coleman.

“The strategy complements the Government’s recent initiative to increase transplants through increasing live organ donations.

“Budget 2017 committed $700,000 a year to help remove the financial deterrent to becoming a live organ donor.

“The Compensation for Live Organ Donors Act, brought by MP Chris Bishop, will come into force by 5 December 2017.

“It means people who donate a kidney or part of a liver will be eligible for 100 per cent loss of earnings compensation for up to 12 weeks from surgery while they recover.

“This will further help to increase our donation rates and supports the overall direction the new strategy launched today.”

The Ministry of Health is currently developing the systems and processes to meet the Act’s provisions.

Notes to Editors
Our rate of deceased organ donation is 11.7 per million population in 2016, compared to Australia's rate of 15.5 and the United Kingdom's rate of 12. However, it's still well behind Spain at 40 per million population.

In the past four years the Government provided an additional $8 million to increase support and education for hospital staff, establish the National Renal Transplant Service, the New Zealand Kidney Exchange, fund donor liaison co-ordinators, and help overcome cultural barriers to donation.

The Government has made an ongoing investment of $2 million each year to continue support for organ donation and renal transplant services.

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