WA on path to be or­gan ‘ex­porter’

The Sunday Times - - NEWS - REGINA TITELIUS Health Re­porter DonateLife Thank You Day is next Sun­day

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

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