Page 827 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 27 February 2013

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MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mrs Jones.

MRS JONES: Treasurer, did you have any concerns prior to the release of this report that water prices were set too high?

MR BARR: The setting of water prices is done independently by the ICRC.

Health—organ donation

MS BERRY: My question is to the Chief Minister and Minister for Health. Minister, as this is DonateLife Week, from 24 February to 2 March, can you update the Assembly on the important work of the DonateLife team at Canberra Hospital?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Ms Berry for the question. Yes, DonateLife Week is running from 24 February until Sunday, 3 March. It is part of a national awareness week to promote organ and tissue donation. Over the course of this week, the organ and tissue sector will be holding a range of events to encourage Australians to set time aside, if they have not already decided, to talk about organ and tissue donation.

As a result of the generosity of organ donors and their families, in the last year a large number of lives have been transformed. Twelve families gave the gift of life to 30 grateful recipients through solid organ donations. Another 47 families consented to eye tissue donations that resulted in 66 recipients receiving the gift of sight. We had two heart valve donors, and the bone bank managed 111 femoral head donations. Importantly, I need to acknowledge that one organ donation of those 12 multi-organ donors can transform up to 10 individuals’ lives.

DonateLife ACT coordinates all the organ and tissue donor activities across the ACT and this region. It works across our hospitals and hospital-based organ and tissue donation medical specialists and nurses across the ACT to provide professional donation services and encourage best practice to increase donation rates. The agency aims to raise awareness about organ and tissue donation, encourage discussion about donation, offer compassionate support to donor families and manage the effective services in organ and tissue donation.

The DonateLife ACT team’s role is to work closely with the families faced with the death of their loved one when donation is being considered. The medical specialists and organ and tissue donor coordinator provide information to assist the family to make a decision that reflects their loved one’s wishes and what is right for them. The team also supports the donor family, following the decision to donate, through the whole donation.

The organ and tissue donor coordinator also collects the information required for the transplant teams and surgery. The team offers bereavement support and follow-up, including 24-hour support for families; information for families about the outcomes of transplants, within the privacy laws; and follow-up care packages for families.

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