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04 Aug 2017

The rate of Australian organ and tissue donation is rising, but there remains plenty of room for improvement.

That is the message the AMA is keen to send to all Australians and it has used DonateLife Week to urge more people to register as donors.

With this year’s theme being Make Your Decision Count, the DonateLife Week, July 30 to August 6, highlighted community awareness about the importance of organ and tissue donation.

In 2015, Australia ranked 20th nation in the world, with 18.1 donors per million population. In 2016, the Australian donation rate rose to 20.8 donors per million people, and resulted in 503 deceased organ donors donating to 1447 transplant recipients.

This represented a 16 per cent increase in organ donors.

AMA President Dr Michael Gannon said the major catalyst for increasing the rate was conversation and education.

“We have to get people talking more openly about the benefits of organ donation, and their personal wishes to be a donor,” Dr Gannon said.

“People should make their choice regarding organ and tissue donation known to their family members and friends.

“Even if a person has registered as an organ and tissue donor, their family will be asked to confirm their wishes and give their consent.

“If a person is not registered, the family will still be asked to give their consent to donation, but evidence shows a significantly higher family consent rate where a person has registered to become an organ and tissue donor.”

Research by the Organ and Tissue Authority shows that:

           · 91 per cent of families agreed to donation when their loved one was a registered donor;

           · 71 per cent of families agreed to donation when they knew their loved one’s decision;

           · the national average of family agreement to donation is 62 per cent; and

           · 52 per cent of families agreed to donate when their loved one had not registered or discussed their donation wishes.

The OTA led the DonateLife Week with strong support from the AMA.

Dr Gannon said one organ and tissue donor can help more than 10 people by saving a life, improving the quality of life, and restoring bodily function.

“The AMA strongly encourages all individuals to consider becoming an organ donor, discuss their views with their family, and record their wish on the Australian Organ Donor Register,” he said.

To access the Australian Organ Donor Register, go to: https://register.donatelife.gov.au/

CHRIS JOHNSON


Published: 04 Aug 2017