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Organ donor rate 'disgraceful'

An organ donation foundation chief believes a positive increase in the number of Australian organ and tissue donors should not deflect attention from the country’s growing transplant waiting list.

ESTELLE GRIEPINK January 30, 2014 6:51am

Spreading message: Zaidee’s Rainbow Foundation chief executive Allan Turner.


The Australia and New Zealand Organ Donation Registry said Australia achieved its highest-ever rate of organ donation last year.

There were 1122 transplant recipients and 391 organ donors, which represented an organ donor increase of 10 per cent from 2012 to last year, and 58 per cent since 2009.

Zaidee’s Rainbow Foundation chief executive Allan Turner said there was still an urgent need for donors, despite the figures.

‘‘It is a positive result, but it’s still short of the world’s best practice. We’ve still got a very long way to go as a country,’’ Mr Turner said.

International rankings put Australia in 21st place for organ donation, compared to world leader Spain, which is followed by France, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Zaidee’s Rainbow Foundation is aiming to get Australia into the top 10 within the next decade.

‘‘It’s a disgraceful figure to have as a modern society,’’ Mr Turner said.

‘‘We’ve got a hell of a way to go if we want to make it to the top 10.’’

Mr Turner urged people to remember the number of patients who were still waiting for organ and tissue transplants.

His daughter Zaidee’s organs and tissues improved the lives of seven people when they were donated after she died in 2004.

The Orrvale Primary School student, 7, was the only Victorian under the age of 16 to donate that year.

‘‘It’s great to have 391 donors, but that doesn’t help the 1600 patients who are waiting. The list is increasing, not decreasing,’’ he said.

‘‘There are 50-plus children currently waiting for a transplant and about half of those will die waiting in the next 12 months.’’

State Member for Shepparton Jeanette Powell urged families to talk about organ and tissue donation.

‘‘To optimise every potential organ and tissue donor, we need to have the chat with our family members so we know each other’s donation decision,’’ Mrs Powell said.

‘‘Having the chat can make a life-saving difference to people waiting for a transplant. It can be the difference between seeing and being blind, mobility and never walking again.’’

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