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President's Report - 2017

Gift of Life has continued to pursue its main priorities: policy advocacy as well

as promotion of greater community awareness and education though events

and activities aimed at increasing organ and tissue donation and registration.

We raised a number ways of increasing consent rates with the Government

such as “soft” First Person Consent for those who have registered as organ

donors and more empathetic means of conducting the family donation

conversation, efforts to widen the donor pool through extended criteria for

organ transplantation and increased donation by circulatory death (DCD). We

also raised improved online registration, and increased resources for

transplant units within hospitals which are becoming increasingly stretched.

Membership of the Organ and Tissue Advisory Council until December 2016

and attendance at the DonateLife Forum in Brisbane in May 2017 offered

excellent opportunities for input to policy. We participated in OTA Partners

meetings, a consultative group on contacts between donors and recipients

and DonateLife ACT community/consumer and clinical advisory committees.

The 10th anniversary Walk on 24 February 2016 – sponsored by the Organ

and Tissue Authority - attracted over 5,700 participants. The 2017 Walk held

on 1 March 2017 with around 4,500 particpants was launched by the

Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove, Health Minister Greg Hunt, Minister

responsible for organ and tissue donation Ken Wyatt and ACT Health Minister

Meegan Fitzharris and is now a feature of the national DonateLife campaign.

We have cooperated closely with the ACT Government and the National

Arboretum Canberra to develop design plans for a special Gift of Life Garden

at the Arboretum. These plans are now well advanced. The ACT

Government and Gift of Life Incorporated provided initial funding and fund

raising has begun. The Garden is expected to open towards the end of 2017.

We arranged a stall during orientation week at ANU Market Day and at the

University of Canberra and addressed medical students at the ANU in a joint

presentation with DonateLife ACT. We also pursued closer links with the

business community through the Canberra Business Chamber.

Record national figures were achieved in 2016 for numbers of donations and

successful transplantations. There remains a need to boost Australia’s rate of

organ and tissue donation - in particular, to lift family consent rates to a higher

level and expand the donor pool. We encourage people to discuss organ and

tissue donation with their family and close friends and to ask and know each

other’s donation decision. We also emphasise the importance of registering

that decision on the Australian Organ Donor Register. Significant progress is

being achieved through the Government’s reform program, but the process

will take time and much more remains to be done.


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