26 September 2023

Organ donors’ stories open to be shared

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DonateLife ACT can now share stories of individuals who’ve donated organs and their loved ones following changes to Territory laws.

Announced by the Minister for Health, Rachel Stephen-Smith, the Health Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 allows DonateLife ACT to share the stories at commemorative occasions and in material that promotes the importance of conversations about organ donation.

“DonateLife ACT is currently prohibited from disclosing information about a deceased donor or from sharing stories of bereaved families because consent cannot be obtained from the deceased donor,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

“The amended Bill passed today expands the list of people eligible to provide consent to disclose identifying information to include the next of kin of a deceased donor, the parent of a child, and the guardian or legal power of attorney of a legally incompetent person,” she said.

“It is important that families can honour and commemorate their loved ones who have donated organs and saved lives.”

Ms Stephen-Smith said the change would allow DonateLife ACT, with consent, to share stories of individuals and their loved ones at occasions such as the annual DonateLife ACT Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving and other commemorative occasions without contravening the Transplantation and Anatomy Act 1978.

She said acknowledgment and recognition of organ donation were critical for educating the wider community.

“Donor families sharing their stories can be both healing for them, and send a strong message of the importance of organ donation in the community,” the Minister said.

“We still have a lot of work to do, but changes such as this are another step in supporting organ donation in the ACT,” she said.

“If you are not already registered to be an organ donor, I would strongly encourage you to register through the Australian Organ Donor Register.

“It only takes a minute and could save up to seven lives.”

The Australian Organ Donor Register can be accessed at this PS News link.

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