Record number of Australian lives saved

17 January, 2017

The Federal Government recently announced a record number of Australian lives saved as a result of a surge in the donation of deceased organs in 2016.

Ken Wyatt, the Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, said that the new figures show that, thanks to the generosity of 503 deceased organ donors and their families, a record 1,448 Australians were given a second chance in life last year.

"During 2016 there was a 16 per cent increase in the number of deceased organ donors over 2015, and a 17 per cent increase in the number of lives saved after receiving a transplant," Minister Wyatt said.

"Last year also marked a change in living donation rates, with our second highest number of living donors since 2010. In 2016, 267 people received a living donation compared with 245 in 2015, an increase of nine percent. This included 44 transplants under the Australian Paired Kidney Exchange Program."

Minister Wyatt said the Australian Government has been joined by all state and territory governments in making organ and tissue donation a health priority.

"These results are a testament to what is possible when we work together on a common goal, with 2016 seeing seven of eight states and territories achieving an increase in deceased donor numbers.

"The decision to donate is one of the most selfless acts not only for the person receiving a lifesaving transplant but their families, friends and the communities they live in," Minister Wyatt said.

"By registering on the Australian Organ Donor Register you are letting your family know your intentions at an incredibly difficult time.

"That's why it's crucial that we talk together and raise awareness and acceptance of organ and tissue donation and continue to increase national consent rates in 2017 and beyond."

Minister Wyatt said he wanted to also pay tribute to the tireless efforts of Australia's donation and transplantation specialists, hospital staff and all those who work behind the scenes so that more people get a second chance at life and achieve their potential.

"I look forward to the release of the 2016 Australian Donation and Transplantation Activity Report including deceased and living organ and tissue donation and transplantation outcomes in February, and the continuation of improved health outcomes for Australians," Minister Wyatt said.

For more information refer to 2016 Fact Sheets on living and deceased organ donation and transplantation outcomes available at the DonateLife website.