NZ Blood Service welcome organ donation service
New Zealand Blood Service welcomes Organ Donation New Zealand (ODNZ) to the Service in a move to support and further develop the work of ODNZ and New Zealand hospital staff, which has seen a substantial increase in organ and tissue donation in recent years.
This follows legislation, the Organ Donors and Related Matters Act, passed in November 2019, providing for the transfer of the statutory functions of the organ donation service to NZBS.
The transition will see the integration of the small, highly specialised and dedicated team from ODNZ into NZBS’ national organisation.
Until now this 24-hour, national service which manages all deceased organ and tissue donations has been a business unit of the Auckland District Health Board.
“Integrating the two organisations is the first step toward improving New Zealand’s organ donation rates, which have increased over recent years but are still low compared with other countries,” says Associate Minister of Health Hon Peeni Henare.
“The new agency will have national oversight of organ donation and distribution, as well as blood collection and supply services. This will enable a better, more coordinated approach to both organ and blood donations,” says Deputy Director-General of Health for DHB Performance, Support and Infrastructure, Robyn Shearer.
“The agency will also play a key role in supporting families and whānau to make donation decisions,” says Shearer.
“We are delighted to welcome the highly respected members of the ODNZ team into the New Zealand Blood Service whānau,” CEO of NZBS Sam Cliffe says.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to bring together two outstanding organisations. Like NZBS, everyone at ODNZ is passionate about the work they do, which is carried out with compassion, respect and specialist knowledge and skills. Now with access to the resources of our national organisation, we can look forward to working together to build on the excellent work that has been done to date.”
“ODNZ welcomes the opportunities that working within NZBS will bring to our service,” says Dr Jo Ritchie. “We look forward to strengthening our relationships with all those involved in organ and tissue donation, ensuring that respect, inclusiveness and cooperation remain at the centre of our values”.
About Organ Donation New Zealand
The National Office of Transplant Donor Coordination, as it was originally called, was established in 1987. It became Organ Donation New Zealand in 2005.
ODNZ provides a 24-hour, 7-days a week, clinical service for deceased organ and tissue donation to health professionals in hospitals throughout New Zealand.
ODNZ works with those health professionals to ensure that processes for deceased donation are nationally consistent and meet the highest medical, ethical and legal standards.
ODNZ coordinates the process of donation which provides organs and tissues to transplant units in New Zealand and Australia and tissue banks in New Zealand.
It also provides on-going support for donor families, education and training for healthcare professionals and accurate factual information to the public.
The ODNZ team comprises 11 people (8.5 FTE).
In 2019, 74 deceased organ donors donated organs for transplantation in New Zealand, benefitting 227 recipients.
Many more people received tissue transplants (eye tissue, heart valves and skin) from these donors.