The Federal Government this week announced $14.9 million for OrganMatch, a world-class software system helping to save the lives of more Australians waiting for an organ transplant.
OrganMatch is Australia’s organ waitlisting and matching system, providing real time access for clinicians to share time critical information across tissue-typing labs, DonateLife agencies and transplant units.
Member for Mallee, Anne Webster said that the funding boost would allow for continued improvements and efficiencies to be made to the OrganMatch system over the course of the next four years
“We want to see more people able to access life-saving transplants as soon as possible. With approximately 1850 Australians on transplant waitlists, we are pulling out all the tools in the toolkit to bring this number down and ensure that people are matched with suitable donors as soon as possible,” Dr Webster said.
“OrganMatch changes the way that organs are allocated and helps clinicians get their patients treatment based on a priority. This means that highly sensitised patients, and those that are hard to match for medical reasons, as well as young people who urgently need transplants, will be able to access them quicker.
“Ultimately this all wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of the donors and their families. This streamlined system is also designed to take care of donor families as timeframes are reduced between the death of a loved one and the organ retrieval surgery. This will mean less time in hospital waiting.”
The system has already been producing promising results. Since it went live in 2019, 31 highly sensitised patients have received a kidney transplant who otherwise would have been unlikely to find a suitable match without OrganMatch.
Regional Health Minister and Minister responsible for the Organ and Tissue Authority (OTA), Dr David Gillespie said one of these recipients had been waiting for a kidney transplant for 17 years, while 12 had been waiting more than five years, and it’s heart-warming to know they now have a better-quality life.
“The system has also matched 29 young transplant recipients with high quality donor kidneys, giving them more years of life with their transplant.”
“This funding boost builds on the 2015-16 Budget measure ‘Accelerating growth in organ and tissue donation for transplantation’ in which the Coalition Government invested one-off funding of $4 million for the development of an Australian organ matching system to replace the outdated National Organ Matching System established in 1999.
Dr Webster encouraged people to show support for organ and tissue donation by registering to be a donor and telling your family you want to be a donor.
“Talking with your family is essential, because they need to know your views when they are faced with the most difficult time of their life.” Dr Webster said.
Register at: donatelife.gov.au, or through your myGov account, or in the Express Plus Medicare app when downloading your COVID-19 digital certificate.
OrganMatch is delivered through contractual arrangements between the OTA and Australian Red Cross LifeBlood.