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'Urgent government funding needed' for organ donations

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Kidney Health New Zealand (KHNZ) is urging the government to fund the newly-established New Zealand Blood and Organ Service (NZBOS) to ensure the growing number of patients who need transplants can receive them.

In an open letter to the Government published in today’s New Zealand Herald, KHNZ Chair, David Shearer questioned why the government had created NZBOS, but had not allocated it any funding.

"You have established a new national body under the New Zealand Blood and Organ Service (NZBOS) to increase the rate of organ donation in New Zealand - without organ donations, there are no transplants - but you have not funded it. It will fail to deliver higher rates of donation if it is not given the funding to do its job,"

"In Budget 2021, we urge you to provide a sustainable funding base for the NZBOS, to improve the rate of donation for all organs in New Zealand. The NZBOS needs $3 million a year to do its job properly," Mr Shearer says.

"Kidney transplant is the best treatment for people with kidney failure, and also the cheapest in the medium to long term.

"A kidney transplant costs $120,000, dialysis costs $80,000 per year - so a transplant pays for itself in 18 months.

"One in 10 New Zealanders has some form of kidney disease, and New Zealanders are suffering in silence. Dialysis treatment is typically tougher than chemotherapy.

"While New Zealand has increased the rate of kidney transplants in the past few years, we still lag behind Australia and many other countries in our rate of deceased kidney transplants.

"Rates of Māori and Pasifika kidney transplants are well below New Zealand European rates. If we were to achieve the Australian rate of deceased kidney transplants, there would be 60 extra kidney transplants each year.

"Kidney Health New Zealand understands the Government’s finances and the health dollar are under pressure. But a kidney transplant pays for itself in 18 months compared to dialysis. Funding NZBOS to increase the rate of organ donation - and thus the rate of kidney transplantation - will save lives and reduce long-term health spending."

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