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The ability to save or improve more lives through the gift of organ and tissue donation requires a collaborative effort from the whole community. We must continue to work together to improve clinical and community acceptance of organ and tissue donation as a routine part of end-of-life care in hospitals. This will support the hospital practice of offering patients and their families the opportunity to donate.

We work with a range of stakeholders to continue to improve the national program. We appreciate and understand that an inclusive and consultative approach is essential to maintain public confidence in the Australian donation and transplantation system and to achieve our purpose.

We work with four key stakeholder groups: the DonateLife Network, the eye and tissue sector, the transplantation sector and the community. A description of our engagement with each group in 2018–19 follows and a full list of the key stakeholders we work with is provided at
Appendix 1: Key stakeholders.

Bringing the donation and transplantation sectors together to celebrate 10 years of the national program

In March 2019, we hosted a major clinical conference Connecting donation and transplantation: a decade of growth and collaboration in Sydney. The conference brought together health professionals and celebrated the clinical achievements of the 10 years since the beginning of the national program and focused on collaboration between the donation and transplantation sectors. It was a highly successful event with over 370 delegates.

The program was developed by a program committee that included medical and nursing representatives from across the donation and transplantation sectors. Key topics on the program included the international and Australian perspectives of donation and transplantation looking at the past (2009), present (2019) and future (2029), clinical and technological advances, the expanding boundaries in transplantation, and strategies for driving clinical practice changes.

Invited speakers included a range of medical and nursing specialists across the donation and transplantation sectors, including intensivists, surgeons, coordinators and managers.

There were three international speakers:

  • Chris Callaghan, transplant surgeon and NHS Blood and Transplant national clinical lead for abdominal organ utilisation (United Kingdom)
  • Howard Nathan, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Gift of Life Donor Program (United States)
  • Nick Cross, National Director of the Kidney Transplant Service and nephrologist at Christchurch Hospital (New Zealand).

A collage of photographs from the 2019 Donation and Transplantation ConferenceBreakout sessions were held across the program, enabling clinicians to share local initiatives, ideas and research, with presentations focused on improving practice and increasing donation and transplantation. To enable broader sharing, we partnered with the online journal, Transplantation Direct, to publish a special journal edition with abstracts of the conference. This edition is available at https://journals.lww.com/transplantationdirect/toc/2019/04001.

In the lead-up to the commencement of OrganMatch, the conference provided a valuable opportunity to demonstrate the new system to key users across the donation and transplantation sectors. The conference included an OrganMatch booth with demonstrations of the new organ allocation list and transplant waiting lists in OrganMatch and the clinical portal.

Evaluation of the conference was extremely positive, with attendees commenting on the high-quality program that included engaging and clinically relevant content by expert presenters.

We are considering options for the next conference which is likely to be in 2021. We will continue to offer the conference widely to both donation and transplantation professionals, and build on this collaboration for further enhancements to the whole system.