Recently both Australian Organ and Tissue Authority & Transplant Australia have been promoting the idea of reintroducing Drivers License Registration of Organ Donation Intent as a way to increase Australia’s declining #Nextofkinconsent rates.
In some cases OTA & TA even using the mainstream media & parliamentary inquiries initiated by states, to float the idea. In a sponsored article, perhaps to create a misleading narrative, quoting rates from 2021 rather than less flattering current rates.
It is important to raise a few pertinent points as to why the money & time to go done that path isn’t the best use of resources or would result in the promised benefit.
1. YOU DONT HAVE TO BE REGISTERED TO BE A DONOR
In Australia only 38% of deceased Organ Donors were registered on the National Register (including SA, Driver’s license process) - Of the 454 Deceased Organ Donors in 2022, only 170 were registered.
2. EVERY FAMILY WILL BE ASKED TO GIVE CONSENT
If a person dies in the right circumstances, their family will be asked for the necessary #NextofkinConsent required for organ donation to happen, regardless of whether their loved one is in the register or not.
In fact the only time a family will not be asked is if the deceased had used the register to record their intent NOT TO BE AN ORGAN DONOR.
3. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT STOPPED DRIVERS LICENSE REGISTRATION
It was the formation of the OTA that led to states relinquishing the Drivers License process in favour of a national registry.
4. THERE ARE BETTER WAYS TO REACH PEOPLE WITH KEY MESSAGES
Service NSW and the New South Wales government have proven that using a digital App can drive both registrations and most importantly awareness about the role families play in the organ donation process.
Whilst we are waiting for the results of the DonateLife Week placement of the registration tile on the Service NSW App, we know that in November 2022 the App drove over 2% of the National Registrations and a large volume of traffic to the DonateLife website.
5. EDUCATION AND COMMUNICATION would have better impact.
Community initiatives like Jersey Day, Zaidee's Rainbow Foundation & others have been working on raising awareness for family and communities conversations about the importance of Organ Donation reaching people in innovative ways that cut through. Zaidee’s as an example is very active in Victoria, which has a low registration rate (21%) but higher consent & donation rates (52%)
Why would any state invest in workforce & Infrastructure costs to reintroduce a method of registration that will only reach a small percentage of people in their state each year? Asking for a friend!