On 2 July 2008 the Australian Government announced a national reform program to implement a world’s best practice approach to organ and tissue donation for transplantation, which was endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments on 3 July 2008.
The Australian Government aims to improve access to life-transforming transplants for Australians through a sustained increase in the donation of organs and tissues by implementing a nationally coordinated approach to organ and tissue donation.
The national program is informed by evidence-based best practice from leading donation countries, which shows that a coordinated national approach, focused on clinical practice reform and increased community acceptance, improves organ donation and transplantation rates.
The twin objectives of the national program are to:
- increase the capability and capacity within the health system to maximise donation rates
- raise community awareness and stakeholder engagement across Australia to promote organ and tissue donation.
The nine key elements of the national program below have been informed by international best practice adapted to the Australian clinical setting:
- Establishment of legislation to create an appropriate legal and ethical framework
- Establishment of a national coordinating body
- Employment of clinical staff dedicated to organ donation in each hospital
- Provision of specialised training for health professionals including programs in requesting consent and managing family donation conversations
- Implementation of a clinical governance framework that supports quality assurance in organ and tissue donation service delivery
- Monitoring and reporting of hospital activity and performance to inform clinical practice improvement
- Financial support to donor hospitals to ensure that cost related to donor management is not a barrier to donation
- Implementation of a coordinated national public awareness program to raise community awareness
- International cooperation to share best practice
Implementation of the national program is managed by the Organ and Tissue Authority through the DonateLife Network, in partnership with state and territory governments, eye and tissue banks, community organisations and the broad donation and transplantation clinical sectors.