Organ donation registration to get easier under Government move to increase rates

Organ donation registration to get easier under Government move to increase rates

Organ donation registration to get easier under Government move to increase rates

Updated 31 July 2017, 7:05 AEST

The Federal Government makes it easier for Australians to register to be an organ donor in an effort to double donation rates.

The Federal Government has committed to trying to double Australia's organ donation rates by making it easier to register online.

Ahead of DonateLife Week, Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt said while 33 per cent of Australians were registered to donate, a much higher number said they were prepared to do it but had not got around to registering.

Mr Wyatt said the Government had made moves to ease the registration process, which can now be done by answering identification questions on the DonateLife website.

"Once you've filled in all that detail, you just press send and you become registered as an organ donor, but the important thing is that you have to talk with your family to let them know what your desires and wishes are in respect to your organs," he said.

"We've found nine out of 10 wishes are complied with where people have talked with their family.

"The rate is far worse when there's no discussion because the family don't know and in a time of grief, because they don't know their loved one's wishes they tend to err on the side of saying no."

When someone decides to donate all of their organs, the lives of up to 10 people can be saved.

Tissue and bone can also be provided.

Push to increase Indigenous donors

Mr Wyatt said his particular focus was to lift the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander donation registration, as the family consent rate was at about 40 per cent, compared to the national average of 60 per cent.

He said while the rate had increased markedly, there was room for improvement.

"When we had a call for people to come and have their bone marrow tested to help a little Noongar boy several years ago, people came from everywhere to have their marrow checked to see if they could be a successful donor," he said.

"So within our community, people do it when they're called upon.

"I would call upon them to give serious consideration to becoming an organ donor."

Mr Wyatt said it was often a issue of accessibility and provoking people to think about it.

Universities find innovative ways to promote registration

The minister pointed to a step at the University of Western Australia where enrolling students were asked if they were prepared to nominate as donors, and the City of Swan sending information out with rates notices.

At a chemist in South Perth, a screen was set up enabling registration.

"People are registering, and they've seen an increase in the number of people taking an interest and there are some people who are coming in now and just registering without having to buy anything," he said.

"They've heard that they can become donors at that particular pharmacy."

Mr Wyatt said he was seeking broader discussion across the community.

"I'd love to see them talk about organ or tissue donation in the same way we talk about our football teams," he said.

"The more we can normalise this, the better it will be for those people who are waiting for a transplant."