Northern NSW works to lift organ and tissue donation rates

Northern NSW works to lift organ and tissue donation rates
Hospitals across the Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSW LHD) have been highlighting the importance of organ and tissue donations within their local communities.

In order to ignite conversations around existing avenues and new opportunities to increase donation rates, representatives from the NSW Organ and Tissue Donation Service visited the area to meet with clinicians, hospital executives and other key stakeholders.

In 2016, a record 1,448 Australians received a lifesaving transplant as a result of the generosity of 503 deceased organ donors whose families agreed to donation at the time of their loved one’s death.

“With ongoing education and improved awareness we can increase this number,” State Medical Director for the NSW Organ and Tissue Donation Service, Dr Elena Cavazzoni, said.

“One donor can save up to 10 lives and improve the lives of many more. Many people aren’t aware that only about 1-2 per cent of people who die in hospital will be eligible to donate their organs, which is why raising awareness at a local level is so critical,” Dr Cavazzoni said.

Among discussions which took place was the introduction of the new femoral head bone donation program at Grafton Base Hospital.

“The femoral head bone is typically removed during a hip replacement and would otherwise be discarded following the operation. Bone donation can assist people needing life-enhancing spinal fusions and treatments after cancer, trauma and sports injuries,” Tissue Donor Co-ordinator, Helen McKeon, said.

Organ donation services are also soon to be expanded in other hospitals on the North Coast.

“We’re expanding our engagement with other sites in the local health district with the help of local donation specialist staff. In the next 12 months we’ll be working with staff in Ballina, Byron and Grafton to expand the services provided there,” Juliana Celcer, Clinical Manager, NSW Organ and Tissue Donation Service, said.

In NSW, you can no longer register a donation decision via your driver’s licence. The Australian Organ Donor Register is the only way to record your decision to become an organ and tissue donor.

To find out how to register online visit

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