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A decade of growth

In the 10 years since the national program began in 2009, organ donation has more than doubled, saving nearly twice the number of people through transplantation. A total of 4,018 organ donors and their families have given over 11,000 Australians a second chance at life through transplantation.

Deceased organ donors and transplant recipients 2000-2018A graph showing the pattern of growth in organ donation and transplantation from 2000 to 2018

Initiatives undertaken over the past decade to increase donation include:

  • Establishment of the OTA and national governance structures
  • Establishment of a national network of DonateLife agencies in each state and territory and hospital-based donation medical specialists and nurses. There are currently 98 hospitals in Australia delivering the program
  • Development and implementation of a clinical governance framework for quality assurance of the donation process to support improvements in clinical practice in hospitals – the Clinical Practice Improvement Program
  • Development of a suite of visual dashboards to present key donation metrics to the DonateLife Network and hospital staff, and state and territory health departments, to inform and drive best practice
  • Development and delivery of a national professional education program, including specialist training on supporting grieving families in donation conversations so they can make an informed and enduring decision about donation
  • Development and implementation of a new Australian organ matching system, known as OrganMatch, to facilitate optimal matching of donor organs to transplant recipients
  • Continued support for the Australian Paired Kidney Exchange Program which facilitates living donor kidney transplants for donor-recipient pairs that are incompatible. In 2019 this program is being expanded to include New Zealand pairs and will be known as the Australian and New Zealand Paired Kidney Exchange Program
  • Development and implementation of the National DonateLife Family Support Service which provides nationally consistent support that is respectful and responsive to the needs of each donor family
  • Implementation of the national Donor Family Study to survey the experiences of donor families. The study provides insights and learnings to inform the ongoing development of family support services and national professional education
  • Development and implementation of a simplified registration channel via the donatelife.gov.au website to facilitate registration on the Australian Organ Donor Register and increase consent rates
  • Development of the Data Governance Framework which outlines the arrangements for the collective responsibility of managing data assets in the organ and tissue donation and transplantation sector. High-quality data informs decision-making and drives improvement in organ and tissue donation outcomes
  • Ongoing development and implementation of the DonateLife Community Awareness and Education Program, which comprises DonateLife Week, community education and outreach, Community Awareness Grants, and partnerships with community organisations
  • Establishment and management of a national vigilance and surveillance system to collect, review, analyse and report on serious adverse events and reactions at a national level
  • Ongoing support for the TSANZ. This organisation develops clinical and ethical guidelines that provide guidance on the eligibility and assessment criteria for organ transplantation, and the allocation of deceased donor organs to wait-listed patients.