Identifying More Organ Donors To Save More Lives

19 October 2018

The Andrews Labor Government is taking action to grow the number of organ donors whose great gift saves the lives of Victorians.

Minister for Health Jill Hennessy joined clinicians at the Royal Melbourne Hospital today to announce a new automatic assessment approach to determine whether a patient is suitable for organ donation, which will lead to a growth in the number of donors.

The new approach means that all patients facing end of life in public hospital emergency departments or intensive care units will be automatically referred to experts at DonateLife Victoria to gauge their suitability.

If the patient is deemed suitable, clinicians would discuss organ donation with the patient’s family – regardless of whether they are on the organ donation registry.

Victoria boasts the highest number of deceased organ donations in Australia and while the number of donors has risen from 117 to 148 since the Labor Government was elected, people are still waiting up to four years for an organ transplant. This initiative will drive that wait time down.

Our status as the national leader comes despite Victoria sitting comparably lower against other states when it comes to organ donation registry rates.

That’s why the Liberals’ half-baked plan to focus on growing the registry alone is inadequate. Our approach will focus on identifying all suitable patients who can save the lives of others – and doing so at the most critical time.

The approach has been followed by the Royal Melbourne which has identified more donors in the last four years than it did in the decade prior.

In 2017, 37 donors were identified at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, and their vital organs transplanted. That number has already been exceeded so far in 2018.

There are approximately 1,400 Australians on organ transplant waiting lists at any one time. Automatic referral is expected to see the number of Victorian organ donors rise by 10 per cent.

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Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

“Too often, we miss the small window of opportunity we have to identity suitable organ donors that can save lives. We’re fixing that, so that more Victorians get a second chance.”

“The most effective way of ensuring we’re identifying more suitable organ donors is a targeted approach and automatic assessment will mean more patients are assessed for their eligibility.”

Quote attributable to Parliamentary Secretary for Health Gabrielle Williams

“This approach has been hugely successful as a trial – now we’re rolling it out across the State.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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