The drop in organ and tissue donation rates in 2014 is a deeply concerning development that demands the Abbott Government’s immediate attention.
National reforms introduced by Labor in 2009 saw organ and tissue donation rates increase by almost 40 per cent in less than five years.
“In the first full year of the Abbott Government donation rates have fallen for the first time under the hapless Assistant Minister for Health.”
The Government must immediately abandon its plans to merge the Organ and Tissue Authority with the National Blood Authority: a short sighted move that can only distract the hard working staff at both organisations.
The figures released by the Organ and Tissue Authority show there were just 378 organ donors in 2014, a drop of three per cent on the previous year.
While Australia has made important strides in recent years to lift our poor level of organ donation rates, the fall in 2014 is distressing news.
The Abbott Government’s callous decision to cut more than $57 billion from public hospitals and abandon any efficiency measures in the system will only make the task of improving donation and transplantation rates all that much harder.
1117 Australians received transplants in 2014, almost identical to the previous year, but around 1500 people are still awaiting transplants.
Since Labor established DonateLife in 2009, organ donation rates had risen almost 40 per cent.
But the slip in donation rates in 2014, ending four years of strong growth, is a huge wake-up call that now is not the time for the Abbott Government to be merging the Organ and Tissue Authority with the National Blood Authority.
Australia needs an organisation dedicated to promoting organ donation and cannot afford to lose a stand-alone Organ and Tissue Authority devoted to this cause.