Written by Emily Kuehner
Produced for online by Maudy Veltema
Employees who take time off work to recover from organ-providing surgery will be financially supported by the Federal Government.
4.1 million dollars will be provided in the 2017 budget to stop the declining donor rates in the last eight years.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt says living donors make an enormous sacrifice and the funding will support the 2013 program for an extra four years.
Transplant Australia CEO Chris Thomas says the announcement is great for patients trying to get onto the waiting list because it removes the financial burden for living donors.
“Overseas studies have shown that about 25% of potential living donors don’t go ahead with it because of loss of wages and the out of pocket expenses, so to have this program in place is really welcome,” he says.
The 4.1 million dollars will pay employees for nine weeks at the national minimum wage.
Organ donation advocate Dawn Ashton welcomes the extra support and says there have been major concerns about living organ donors.
“People really want to be able to help a loved one, but quite often they’re financially disadvantaged by doing this because they’re having to take time off work,” she says.
Director of Kidney Health Australia Carol Pollock says the non-profit organisation is extremely pleased by the announcement and hopes to see the program continued permanently.
She says it’s a relief for the 1,000 chronic kidney disease patients currently on the transplant waiting list.
“Living organ donation is highly successful and it transforms the life of people who have organ failure, particularly kidney failure,” she says.
All organisations hope the announcement will encourage more Australians to join the living or deceased organ registry.
“This is part of a comprehensive package to improve donation rates in Australia, to make sure living donors are supported, but of course in an ideal situation we would improve overseas donor rates,” Mr Thomas says.