At any one time, there are approximately 1,400 Australians on organ transplant waiting lists. They rely on organ donors for lifesaving transplant operations.
The Victorian Government has introduced a new automatic assessment approach to determine whether a patient is suitable for organ donation, in the hope of increasing the number of donors by 10%.
The new approach means that all patients facing end of life in public hospital emergency departments or intensive care units will be automatically referred to experts at DonateLife Victoria to gauge their suitability.
If the patient is deemed suitable, clinicians would discuss organ donation with the patient’s family, regardless of whether they are on the organ donation registry.
Victoria boasts the highest number of deceased organ donations in Australia. Although the number of donors has risen from 117 to 148 since 2014, people are still waiting up to four years for an organ transplant. This initiative will drive that wait time down.
In 2017, 37 donors were identified at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, and their vital organs transplanted. That number had already been exceeded by October 2018, when the new approach was introduced.
Minister for Health Jill Hennessy said, “The most effective way of ensuring we’re identifying more suitable organ donors is a targeted approach and automatic assessment will mean more patients are assessed for their eligibility.”