Despite a $151m national program to improve access to lifesaving organs, Australia’s organ transplant rate declined in the quarter to 30 June 2011.
Except New South Wales and Victoria, which have witnessed increases, other states such as Queensland, Tasmania, South Australian, Northern Territory and Western Australia have recorded declining rates over the past 3 years.
According to medical reform group ShareLife, Australia’s national organ transplant rate at around 43 per million per year is nowhere near the target of 80-90 transplants per year achieved in other industrialized countries such as Spain and is back to its level in 1989.
ShareLife Australia chairman Marvin Weinman said instead of implementing ‘best practices’ the Australian Organ and Tissue Transplant Authority is implementing a blend of modified ‘past practices,’ spending a lot of money and not deploying people effectively.
ShareLife transplant physician and spokesperson Bruce Pussell said while there has been some national improvement, people in Queensland, Tasmania, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and New South Wales should be very disappointed with these results and with federal health officials who have suggested that organ transplant rates have gone up significantly.
However, the medical reform group remains confident that Australia’s ultimate goal of 90 transplants per million of population can be achieved if proven leading practices for organ donation and transplantation are fully and effectively implemented.