Australian organ donation reaches record rates

Saturday, 26 January, 2019

Australian organ donation reaches record rates

In the past decade organ donation in Australia has more than doubled, and in the past year even more lives were saved thanks to a record rise in donor consent rates. This places Australia in the top 15 countries in the world for organ donation.

“With the greatest number of people donating their organs, a record 1544 Australians received transplants in 2018 — 144 more than the previous year,” said the Minister responsible for the Organ and Tissue Authority, Ken Wyatt AM.

“We salute from the bottom of our hearts the 554 selfless and generous Australians who have given the gift of life in the past year, especially their families, who play a crucial role by confirming their loved one wanted to be a donor.

“This means that in the 10 years since the national program started, organ donation has more than doubled, saving almost twice the number of people through transplantation.”

The 2018 performance data released by Wyatt and the Organ and Tissue Authority shows increases in national donation and transplant rates. 

“One of the key factors driving the increase in donations is a significant rise in the consent rate, from 59% in 2017 to 64% in 2018 — the highest rate ever recorded,” said Wyatt.

“I am confident outcomes will continue to rise as consent rates increase. Organ and tissue donation is now firmly embedded in our hospitals, with over 275 donation specialist nurses, doctors and support staff covering 96 hospitals across Australia.

“Records show that 75% of families say ‘yes’ to donation when a donation specialist is involved in providing support and information to family members in the hospital.”

The consent rate is an international benchmark indicating the number of times donation specialists have donor conversations with next of kin, compared with the proportion of next of kin who agree to donation proceeding.

The 2018 results will place Australia in the top 15 countries in the world for organ donation, with a national donation rate of 22.2 donors per million population (dpmp), a 7% increase on 2017 (20.7 dpmp).

The Organ and Tissue Authority is responsible for the national organ donation program and works with each state and territory to maximise transplant rates and raise community awareness of organ and tissue donation.

NSW man Jayden Cummins, 47, is hoping for a heart transplant. “For those of us on the waiting list, it’s a case of just taking each day as it comes,” Cummins said. “The bottom line is that we need more people to agree to organ donation. It is a life or death decision for us. I can only hope that 2019 is the year when I finally get the phone call that changes my life.”

Registration takes less than a minute via mobile phone, tablet or computer, and can be done at

Image credit: © na chiangmai

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