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Disappointing start for Australian Organ Donation Authority

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Disappointing Start for Australian Organ Donation Authority

October 12, 2011

The discovery that the Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Authority has failed to meet some of it’s key performance indicators, despite revising down their own key targets, is concerning says Parliamentary Secretary for Primary Healthcare, Andrew Southcott.

“Last year the Authority undertook a substantial marketing campaign to improve donor awareness. Unfortunately it looks like they’re off to a slower start than expected.” Andrew Southcott said today.

Family awareness of a donor’s wishes is crucially important in the donation process as consent will always be sought from family members before a transplant takes place.

The most common reason cited by families when declining to donate a relative’s organs is that they simply did not know what their relative’s wishes were.

Originally committed to ensuring 85 per cent of families knew their family member’s wishes about donation, the Australian Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Authority later revised that target down to 63 percent.

“Even after significantly dropping their targets, they have still failed to meet them, with only 57 percent of Australians aware of their family member’s organ donation wishes, and increase of only 6 per cent on the previous financial year”

“More importantly, their target to increase the rate of family consent to 70 per cent has not been met, with just over 50 per cent consenting to organ donation after the death of a relative.”

Australia’s rate of organ donation is still quite poor in comparison to international standards, with only 45.3 transplants per million population, well short of the 80-90 transplants per million achieved by the countries with leading transplantation rates.

“These results only further prove the Authority is off to a shaky start, having had 3 Chief Executive Officers since it was established in January 2009”

“The Coalition has always been supportive of increasing the rates of Organ Donation in Australia. We just need to ensure this is done in the most effective way possible”