A proposal for an opt-out organ donation system in WA will soon go to State Cabinet before being released to MPs to gauge support.
Health Minister Kim Hames admitted yesterday that he had mixed feelings about presumed consent, which is when people automatically become potential organ donors unless they register an objection.
The plan is one option in a discussion paper prepared for the Government in a bid to improve organ donor rates. It follows pressure from MPs Martin Whitely, Joe Francis and Vince Catania who have been pushing for reforms.
Dr Hames said the paper had taken longer than expected to prepare but was ready to circulate.
About 1700 Australians are waiting for life-saving or life-improving transplants.
Despite Australia having a record 309 donors last year, it has one of the lowest organ donor rates in the world. Twenty-two of last year's donors were from WA, resulting in 69 transplants, 48 of them in WA.
Dr Hames said this month he planned to take the discussion paper to his ministerial colleagues before giving it to other MPs. /p pIf he got support from MPs, then he would consider draft legislation.
Mr Whitely said he was open to whatever plan to improve organ donor rates by increasing the number of potential donors. Another option was a compulsory section on driver's licence renewals.
Mr Whitely said he was happy with the progress and believed Dr Hames supported a new approach to donor registration.
Dr Hames said yesterday he had mixed feelings about an opt-out system but was happy to listen to the debate.
"When the issue was raised last year, I was disturbed by some negative comments," he said.
"I want to do everything I can to encourage people to make informed decisions about organ donation."
A meeting of Australian health ministers in Hobart yesterday, chaired by Dr Hames, reaffirmed the commitment to increasing organ and tissue rates.DonateLife Week starts on Sunday.
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