LIFESAVING RECORD AS MANY MORE AUSTRALIANS SAY YES TO GIFT OF LIFE
Australia has recorded a major increase in lifesaving and life changing organ donations and transplants, following a record rise in donor consent rates over the past year.
“With the greatest number of people donating their organs, a record 1,544 Australians received transplants in 2018, 144 more than the previous year,” said the Minister responsible for the Organ and Tissue Authority, Ken Wyatt AM.
“We salute from the bottom of our hearts the 554 selfless and generous Australians who have given the gift of life in the past year, especially their families, who play a crucial role by confirming their loved one wanted to be a donor.
“This means that in the ten years since the national program started, organ donation has more than doubled, saving almost twice the number of people through transplantation.”
The 2018 performance data released by Minister Wyatt and the Organ and Tissue Authority today shows increases in national donation and transplant rates.
Minister Wyatt said the Liberal National Government had introduced fast online organ donor registrations in July 2017 and strongly supported promotional programs across popular sporting codes including the AFL, the NRL and the FFA.
“One of the key factors driving the increase in donations is a significant rise in the consent rate, from 59 per cent in 2017 to 64 per cent in 2018, the highest rate ever recorded,” said Minister Wyatt.
“I am confident outcomes will continue to rise as consent rates increase. Organ and tissue donation is now firmly embedded in our hospitals with over 275 donation specialist nurses, doctors and support staff covering 96 hospitals across Australia.
“Records show that 75 per cent of families say ‘yes’ to donation when a donation specialist is involved in providing support and information to family members in the hospital.”
The consent rate is an international benchmark indicating the number of times donation specialists have donor conversations with next of kin, compared with the proportion of next of kin who agree to donation proceeding.
The 2018 results will place Australia in the top 15 countries in the world for organ donation, with a national donation rate of 22.2 donors per million population (dpmp), a 7 per cent increase on 2017 (20.7 dpmp).
“Increasing our consent rate to 70 per cent would place Australia in the world’s top ten performing countries and we are now within 6 per cent of achieving this goal,” Minister Wyatt said.
“Clearly there has been significant progress but there is more we can and must do to increase donation.
“With around 1,400 Australians currently wait listed for a transplant, and around 12,000 people on kidney dialysis, it is crucial that everyone thinks about donation, talks to their families and registers on the Australian Organ Donor Register.”
The Organ and Tissue Authority is responsible for the national organ donation program and works with each state and territory to maximise transplant rates and raise community awareness of organ and tissue donation.
New South Wales man Jayden Cummins, 47, is hoping for a heart transplant.
“For those of us on the waiting list, it’s a case of just taking each day as it comes,” Mr Cummins said.
“The bottom line is that we need more people to agree to organ donation. It is a life or death decision for us. I can only hope that 2019 is the year when I finally get the phone call that changes my life.”