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Consultation begins on organ donation

Statement issued by Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman, Minister of Health 

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says consultation starts today on ways to increase New Zealand’s deceased organ donation rates.

“Organ transplantation is a life-saving treatment and for people with organ failure it’s often the only option available,” says Dr Coleman.

“While we already have many of the elements of an effective organ donation and transplantation service in New Zealand we can do better.

“The consultation document sets out a number of changes which could increase our deceased organ donation rate.

“This includes raising awareness, standardising the way hospitals identify potential donors and how donation is discussed with families.

“A suggestion as to how we could better support the hospital team is to improve the driver licence system so medical staff are informed if someone has indicated they would like to become a donor.”

Demand for transplants in New Zealand, particularly kidneys, continues to rise while our rate of deceased organ donation remains comparatively low at 11.8 donors per million population in 2015.

The Government has invested $8 million in a variety of initiatives aimed at increasing organ donation and transplantation. These included support and education for hospital staff, work to help overcome cultural barriers and donor liaison co-ordinators.

The consultation document follows a Ministry of Health-led review of deceased organ donation rates. The proposals are based on international best practice, local evidence and advice from an expert advisory group.

The consultation document and details on how to make a submission are available on the Ministry of Health website, www.health.govt.nz

Media contact: Angela Kenealy 021 220 0129

Notes to Editors

By comparison, Australia’s organ donation rate was 18.3 donors per million population in 2015. Spain had the highest organ donation rate at 39.7 donors per million population in 2015.

Donated organs can come from both deceased and live donors (in the case of kidneys and livers).

One deceased donor can provide up to seven organs, potentially saving seven lives.

In New Zealand there were 53 deceased donors in 2015, up from 46 in 2014 and 36 in 2013.

The driver licence donor information is not routinely used by clinicians, due to concerns about the lack of information about organ donation provided to people at the time they apply for a driver licence.

The expert advisory panel included a range of expertise and experience. Members are available on the Ministry of Health’s website: http://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/hospitals-and-specialist-care/review-deceased-organ-donation-and-transplantation

More information about organ donation is available on the Ministry of Health funded Organ Donation New Zealand website, www.donor.co.nz


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