WA on path to be organ ‘exporter’
ORGAN donations are on the rise in WA, with predictions the State could soon become an “exporter” of body parts.
DonateLife WA State medical director Dr Bruce Powell said if donation rates continued to grow and waiting lists remained short, WA would be in a good position to become a “net exporter” of organs to the Eastern States.
There has already been a 40 per cent increase in donors compared with this time last year, which equated to 47 donors, with each making multiple organ donations, he said.
He expected WA’s donation rate to rise to more than 20 donations per million people, which would place the State in line with the national average.
“We will get to a point where we move more organs out to other States than we have them coming in to WA,” Dr Powell said.
But he encouraged more West Australians to sign up to the national Organ Donor Register.
WA has 310,000 registered organ donors, which accounts for less than 20 per cent of residents who are eligible.
“The number of people registering on the organ donor register is pretty static,” Dr Powell said.
“It’s a tough thing for people to commit to. So there’s a huge amount of work to be done. Unless you’ve been personally touched by a donation, you don’t necessarily realise what an amazing gift it is.”
Dr Powell said the family consent rate for organ donation was about 60 per cent, which meant many families declined to allow a donation, even if the relative was registered.
He said the introduction of organ retrieval at regional hospitals — such as Bunbury, Albany, Kalgoorlie, Geraldton and Broome — would help make donations available to more people.
Dr Powell said providing organ retrieval at non-tertiary hospitals in the metropolitan area including Rockingham, Joondalup, Armadale and Midland in the past few years had greatly improved the access of organ donation to the community.
Federal Assistant Health Minister Ken Wyatt said the Turnbull Government was considering offering registration portals on computers in a national pharmacy chain.
He said he was considering other initiatives that could be trialled in WA before a national roll-out. “I want WA to be a leader in organ donation,” Mr Wyatt said.
Pumped: Jason Pearce recovers at home after heart transplant surgery. Picture: Justin Benson-Cooper