Pertaining to low rates of organ donation in New Zealand, the government has come forward for reviewing its deceased organ donation procedures. It will look at whether cultural and religious factors are contributing to low rates of organ donation.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has released the terms of reference for the review, which will look at deceased organ donation and on the driver licencing system and practices for gaining consent from family members. It will also consider "ethical, cultural, religious, and demographic factors within the New Zealand context."
"Although overall donation rates have increased in recent years, New Zealand still has relatively low rates compared with other countries. Our donation rate is around 10 per million people compared with 16 per million people in Australia. Spain has the highest rate at 36 per million people. In New Zealand there were 46 deceased organ donations carried out last year, up from 36 in 2013," he said.
Coleman said the rate of donation had to increase, to help the 700 people currently waiting for a kidney transplant and around 40 people waiting for liver, cardiac or lung transplants.
It would investigate New Zealand's health sector capacity and capability, and funding and performance arrangements. At last year's budget, the Government allocated $4 million over four years to set up a National Renal Transplant Service to increase the number of live kidney donor transplantation.
"By considering how other countries around the world approach organ donation we could be looking at potentially life-saving changes for these New Zealanders," he said.