Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing Catherine King on Tuesday praised organs and tissue transplant donors which saved and extended the lives of others who are in need. King disclosed that data showed that a record number of 309 deceased Australians donated their organs and tissue for transplant during 2010.
Surgeons hold a plastic bag containing a kidney after an operation to extract organs from a brain-dead woman.
The donations saved or significantly improved the lives of 931 Australians who were relying on a transplant. That transplant figure is the highest in more than a decade.
The figures were released today by the Australian and New Zealand Organ Donation Registry (ANZOD) and the Organ and Tissue Authority.
They show the 2010 deceased donation figures exceeded the total number of donations in any year in Australia's recorded donation and transplant history.
"This is a wonderful credit to those people who so generously donated and to their families who honoured the wishes of their deceased loved ones," Ms King said.
"It means improved health and life span for other Australians who were the beneficiaries of the donations and demonstrates that the message to encourage more people to discuss with their loved ones their wish to donate their organs and tissue is getting through.
"It also shows that the Government's $151 million reform program to boost organ and tissue donation rates is on track and having an impact.
"As well as the community education program on organ and tissue donation, the reforms also include the establishment of a national clinical network of staff around the nation aimed at improving organ and tissue donation and raising awareness about organ donation in hospitals.
"I want to pay tribute to those Australians who have donated organs. They have left a living legacy. I also want to encourage all Australians to discuss with their families their donation wishes upon their death."
The figures released today show that the organ donation total of 309 equates to a national organ donor rate of 13.8 per million. This is significantly higher than the annual average of 205 donors that occurred during 2000 to 2008 (10.2 per million of population), prior to the implementation of the Australian Government's National Reform package in 2009.
"These figures are extremely gratifying and will bring renewed hope to those people on waiting lists for transplant surgery," Ms King said.
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