National organ and tissue donation and transplantation rates continue to rise

In 2013 Australia achieved its highest organ and tissue donation and transplantation outcomes according to official figures released today by the Australia and New Zealand Organ Donation Registry (ANZOD) and the Organ and Tissue Authority.

"Last year, 1,122 Australian transplant recipients benefited from the generosity of 391 organ donors and their families who supported their decision to become an organ donor," said Ms Yael Cass, Chief Executive Officer of the Organ and Tissue Authority.

ANZOD Executive Chair Professor Graeme Russ said, "In 2013, there were 391 organ donors in Australia which represents an increase of 10% over the number in 2012 and a 58% increase over the 2009 outcomes. This builds on a year by year increase over the last few years, such that Australia's donors per million population rate is now 16.9 dpmp, a 48% increase over 11.4 dpmp in 2009."

In 2013 an additional 314 Australian lives were transformed through the gift of an organ transplant due to the continued growth in donation outcomes since 2009 under the national reform programme.

"This means that one in four of the 1,122 organ transplant recipients in 2013 received their transplant because of the growth in organ donation outcomes in Australia since 2009," said Ms Cass.

Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia all achieved their highest ever annual organ donation outcomes in 2013. The breakdown of donors in 2013 was: Victoria – 110; New South Wales - 102; Queensland - 77; Western Australia - 47; South Australia - 34; Tasmania - 8; the Northern Territory – 7; and, the Australian Capital Territory - 6.

In 2013, tissue donation continued to improve the lives of Australians, with preliminary data showing a 5% increase over the 2012 outcome for both tissue donors (4,033) and tissue donations (4,196).

The generous decision of these tissue donors in 2013 allowed the transplant of 6,248 tissue grafts, including bone, tendon, heart valve and skin grafts, improving the lives of 3,691 tissue transplant recipients.

"Australia's steady progress is due to both the dedicated DonateLife staff providing specialist organ and tissue donation services, and to our generous donor families who are supported to make the decision to honour their loved one's wishes and to proceed with donation", said Ms Cass.

"We are confident that the clinical reform initiatives we have in place, as part of the national reform programme and modelled on international best practice, will continue to deliver positive outcomes for more Australians awaiting a transplant."

Ms Cass said that family awareness of donation decisions also remains a key factor in improving donation outcomes.

"While clinical reform is essential, family awareness and discussion of organ donation also supports increasing consent rates. When families know the donation decision of a loved one, they are more likely to endorse donation proceeding."

The 2013 Report from the Australia and New Zealand Organ Donation Registry (ANZOD) is available at

The Organ and Tissue Authority's 2013 Performance Report is available at

Key initiatives now underway to lift organ and tissue donation rates in Australia include:

  • implementation of a clinical governance framework to support and guide hospital staff to provide quality organ and tissue donation services.
  • implementation and evaluation of the national Professional Education Program on family donation conversations and its impact on organ and tissue donation consent rates.
  • implementation of eye and tissue donation reform.
  • implementation of a nationally coordinated Indigenous Australian and culturally and linguistically diverse communication and engagement plan.

For more information:

The Organ and Tissue Authority (OTA) leads implementation of the Australian Government's national reform programme to increase organ and tissue donation and transplantation. The OTA's aim is to: increase capability and capacity within the health system to maximise donation rates and to build community awareness and stakeholder engagement across Australia to promote organ and tissue donation.

The Australia and New Zealand Organ Donation Registry (ANZOD) is responsible for the collection and reporting on deceased organ donors in Australia and New Zealand. ANZOD records and reports on a wide range of statistics that relate to organ donation following death within Australia and New Zealand.

Released 29 January 2014


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