The federal government has decided to focus on improving the rate of organ donation in Australia following the recommendations of an Ernst and Young report. The independent review was ordered by the government last year to find out why the organ donation rate in Australia is lower compared to other developed countries.
Australia’s world ranking in terms of organ donations is 22 and the current quantity of donated organs is not enough to meet the demands. The report recommended 24 changes in the way the promotion of organ donation is done and its implementation in hospitals. The review also suggested that a new Board of Governance be constituted by the government to oversee the functions of the Organ and Tissue Authority, which is currently under the supervision of an advisory council.
Rural Health Minister Fiona Nash said that according to the report, OTA should take measures to improve accountability, transparency and governance of the program.
“Organ donation saves lives,” the ABC quoted Senator Nash as saying. “The review found that while the strategy is sound, there is significant room for improvement in the delivery. We’ve done pretty well over the last eight years, but there are many things we can do better.”
The BBC reported that, despite being a world leader in transplant surgery and having high rate of registered organ donors per capita in the world, the level of actual organ donation is quite low. The current donation rate in Australia is 16.9 donors per million population but the government said it is targeting 25 dpmp by 2018.
Jason Ryan, the chairman of Transplant Australia welcomed the recommendations and said that he is looking forward to a change when every suitable organ would be made available for transplant. He added that he believes the review would provide the government with the roadmap required to bring success in the field.
Senator Nash also said the government would not consider the opt-out model, which means it would regard every adult Australian as a default donor.