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7 August, 2022

Urgent need for more people to register as organ and tissue donors

LAST week during DonateLife Week, the Australian Organ Donor Register (AODR) data revealed the top five local government areas (LGAs) in the Cairns and Hinterland region with the most people signed up as donors.

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In order, the top five Cairns and Hinterland region LGA’s with the highest rates of registration and estimated population total of donors aged 15+ are: 

• Douglas(33% / 11,085 people total) 

• Cairns(30% / 145,709 people total) • Tablelands (27% / 22,594 people total) 

• Cassowary Coast(26% / 26,271 people total) 

• Mareeba(22% / 20,249 people total) 

While last year was a record-breaking year for new registrations, with around 350,000 Australians joining the AODR, up 87% on 2020, there is more to be done to lift registration rates. 

Around 30% of Queenslanders are registered to be organ and tissue donors, a figure below the national average of 36%. 

A recent poll of 60,000 Australians (ABC Talks 2021) showed four out of five say they would be willing to donate their organs when they die. 

So, the problem is not that Australians are against organ and tissue donation – it is that they do not know how to, do not think they’re healthy enough or have not got around to it yet. 

DonateLife Queensland Donation Specialist Nurse of Cairns Hospital Loren Ginders said that with around 1,750 seriously ill people on Australia’s organ transplant waitlist and another 13,000 people on dialysis, the need to consider organ donation had never been greater. 

“Any Australian aged 16 and over can sign up online,” Ms Ginders said. 

“It doesn’t matter how old you are, your medical history, your lifestyle, what country you’re from or how healthy you are – you can still register as an organ and tissue donor. 

“We know the biggest barrier to families saying ‘yes’ to donation is not knowing their family member wanted to be a donor. 

“In hospital, discussing organ and tissue donation comes at an intensely emotional time for families – usually when faced with the unexpected death of their loved one. 

“When donation is possible, it helps when families know what their loved one wanted. 

“Across Australia, nine in 10 families say yes to donation when their loved one was a registered donor, and this number is halved when a person is not registered and has not shared their wishes with their family.” 

 It only takes one minute to register as an organ and tissue donor at or just three taps in your Express Plus Medicare app. You can also use these channels to check and make sure you’re registered.

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