2013 - ISODP 2013 Congress

Oral Presentation 8 on Living Donation

15.3 - Australian Supporting Leave for Living Organ Donors "Scheme" An innovative example of successful advocacy

Presenter: Luke, Toy, Adelaide, Australia
Authors: Luke Toy, Tim Mathew, Anne Wilson, Marie Ludlow

Australian Supporting Leave for Living Organ Donors’ Scheme – An innovative example of successful advocacy

Luke Toy1, Tim Mathew2, Anne Wilson3, Marie Ludlow2

1Kidney Health Australia, Canberra, Australia, 2Kidney Health Australia, Adelaide, Australia, 3Kidney Health Australia, Melbourne, Australia

Every year in Australia more than 200 healthy people undergo an invasive, voluntary surgical procedure to become a live kidney donor.  Those willing to donate a kidney are subjected to a number of out of pocket expenses for the cost of the procedure. In addition, some are unable to secure paid leave from their employment, compounding their financial situation or presenting a potential reason to withdraw from the procedure.  Australian live donors are characterised by a significant under-representation in the lower socio-economic quintiles.

Financial hardship for live donors is an issue that Kidney Health Australia has been advocating for, both on behalf of and with, living donors, those with kidney disease, their families and carers.  On 7 April 2013 the Federal Minister for Health announced with Kidney Health Australia, a two year pilot of a ’Supporting Leave for Living Organ Donors’ Scheme. The pilot commenced on 1 July 2013, covering live kidney and partial liver donations.

The Scheme is not an incentive to donate, but is designed to help support those people who wish to donate but cannot afford to due to loss of income. By extension it will assist to offset the financial stress on the donor’s family.  Under the initiative, people who are employed or self-employed can, with the support of their employer, seek reimbursement of up to the minimum wage rate per week, for a period of six weeks, including time off taken for both work-up periods and recovery.

The success of the Scheme depends on a comprehensive communication, media and support strategy to ensure potential donors and recipients, their employers, and hospital staff are confident in accessing the Scheme.  Although modelling suggests the Scheme may pay for itself over time, the strongest justification is its potential in correcting the current burdens borne by live donors.

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