New figures confirming organ donations are again on the rise are a clear signal to the Liberal Government to abandon its ill-conceived plans to merge the Organ and Tissue Authority with the National Blood Authority.
The latest official figures show there have been 320 Australian deceased organ donors in the first nine months of this year, an increase of more than 10 per cent on the same time last year.
This is easily the highest nine month total on record for Australia, and is up almost 70 per cent for nine month total in 2009, the year Labor established DonateLife to boost organ donations.
A record 900 people benefited from these donations, up 6 per cent on 2014, and 48 per cent on 2009, in many cases providing them with an increased quality of life, or the gift of life itself.
This year’s strong rise is a tribute to the work of DonateLife, and hospitals around the country to drive up Australia’s organ donation rates.
They are a welcome rebound after the chaos and confusion caused by the Abbott/Turnbull Liberal Government which last year saw donation rates fall for the first time in five years.
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 Minister must also restore certainty and ensure there is a clear path forward by releasing the findings of the review into organ donation she hastily announced in May this year.
Despite today’s welcome news more still needs to be done to improve organ donation rates in Australia.
At any one time in Australia there are 1600 people in need of an organ donation and the single most crucial factor in overcoming that waiting list is The Conversation.
A person’s wishes are much more likely to be recognised when they understand and have discussed organ and tissue donation with those close to them.
But sadly, across Australia, too many families still have no idea that their loved ones wish to be organ and tissue donors, and are therefore not equipped to cope with making this decision at such a terrible time.
Have the conversation now. Ask and know your loved ones’ wishes and leave your family in no doubt about your decision to be an organ and tissue donor.