NSW Organ and Tissue Donation Service (OTDS) were encouraged by the increase in organ donors in NSW in 2009.
Commenting on the ANZOD data for the year, Medical Director Dr Deepak Bhonagiri said that the increase from 57 donors in 2008 to 69 in 2009 was the highest recorded level since 1994.
“Organ donor rates have returned to the figures we were achieving in the early 1990s and we are pleased to have sustained an increase in organ donors for the last two years.
“I congratulate the staff who have worked very hard and the wonderful support they have given to families who have agreed to organ donation.
“We have also been working with the community to help people get access to information to make informed choices about donation.
“At the end of last year we made a significant change by employing 10 new hospital based medical directors and 12 new senior nurse positions to ensure organ donation is both identified and well supported in hospitals.
“We will work with the National Organ and Tissue Authority to ensure that both community engagement is improved and donor families are well informed and supported through the organ donation process.
“Whilst the opportunity for organ donation is rare, we need to ensure that those families who have generously agreed to donation continue to be well supported,” Deepak Bhonagiri said.
The need for an increased organ donation rate is evidenced by the 1,770 (1310 for kidney) patients waiting as at 4 January 2010. This compares with 1,716 at the start of 2009.
The NSW OTDS Communications Manager, Kerry McKay said: “Australia’s current national family consent rate for organ donation to proceed is just 56%.
“In launching the DonateLife national community education and awareness program in November last year, we are now enabling and empowering Australians to discover the facts about organ and tissue donation, become informed and decideabout becoming a donor and discuss their wishes with their family.”
“Families need to know each other’s wishes about organ and tissue donation because, even if you are registered as a donor, your next of kin is still asked to give consent for donation to take place, Ms McKay said.”