This post was published by ShareLife Australia on Sunday 03 November.
Today, The Sunday Telegraph has launched a campaign in collaboration with Pride of Australia medal winner, Will Chapman, to address low rates of organ donation in Australia and to shed some light on the facts. It is important to hear the stories of those who are waiting and in need of a transplant. The sad truth is that many die waiting.
Often the public is led to believe that the answer to increasing the number of organ donors is as simple as increasing registration numbers. This is not the case. There is, however, a direct correlation between expertly trained staff working as donor coordinators in hospitals and the positive impact this has on organ donor identification and consent rates.
Over 90% of Australians support organ donation and more than five million are registered donors. We have dedicated experts working across the country and excellent transplant outcomes in Australia.
Australia’s organ donor numbers have improved over the last year and this is good news. Twice as many transplants occur per capita in many other countries. Australia is currently ranked 21st in the world based on number of deceased organ donors per capita. There are no significant or relevant disparities between the number of people who could be potential donors in Australia and the numbers in countries that have much higher rates.
In 2012 there were 15.6 donors per million people in Australia. In the USA there were 26 dpmp and in Spain, the world leader, there were 35.6 dpmp.
The key is to improve identification and consent rates. This is successfully achieved when a nationally coordinated system is in operation and hospitals are given the resources and the world’s best practice system to model changes on.
The community will is there. The federal government funding is there. Since 2009 $40 million has been spent each year. In 2008 there were 846 recipients who received organs from deceased donors. Last year there were 354 deceased donors and 1052 transplant recipients in Australia.
We must ensure that this opportunity to save many more lives is realised. TheSpanish lead the way, many countries are following. We must remain focused on what is possible and continue to strive for world-leading organ donation and transplant numbers.
It’s also important to take this opportunity to recognise and thank Australia’s donors and donor families and also to thank those who may have wanted to donate but have not had the opportunity.