Race is on to register as organ donors

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Far North Queenslanders are being urged to sign on as organ and tissue donors, with only 1360 people signing up for the cause last year.

New figures from DonateLife released during DonateLife Week 2021 show far more people in Townsville (1800), the Sunshine Coast (3160) the Gold Coast (4820) and Brisbane (10,860) signed up as organ and tissue donors during 2020 than in Cairns during the past 12 months.

Cairns Hospital Donation Specialist Nurse Loren Ginders said while the 2020 figures were encouraging given the uncertain times the region was facing last year with the start of the pandemic; she would like to see double that number register during this year’s campaign.

‘When Queenslanders are registered, their family have one less decision to make during the highly emotional time in their lives,’ she said.

‘The biggest barrier to families saying ‘yes’ to donation is not knowing their family member was willing to be a donor.

‘In a hospital setting, discussing organ and tissue donation comes at an intensely emotional time for families, usually associated with the unexpected death of their loved one.’

There are currently 1800 Australians on the transplant waitlist and an additional 12,000 people on dialysis for kidney failure.

The number of Australians signing on to become organ and tissue donors dropped by 16 per cent last year as the COVID-19 pandemic grew.

‘When donation is a possibility, it helps when families know what their loved one wanted,’ Ms Ginders said.

‘Across Australia we know that 9 in 10 families give consent to donation when their loved one was a registered donor, and this number is halved when a person is not registered and has not discussed donation with their family.

‘With a consent rate of 62% in Queensland I urge residents to join the Great Registration Race for DonateLife Week to register if you haven’t already, or to check you’re registered if you think you are. It only takes one minute online to do either.’

There are 13 million Australians aged 16+ who are eligible to register as organ and tissue donors but haven’t.

The Great Registration Race for DonateLife Week is encouraging 100,000 more Australians to register as organ and tissue donors.

Anyone aged 16+ can register, it only takes one minute at donatelife.gov.au/register.