Health and Finance Minister David Clark has introduced the Organ Donors and Related Matters Bill to Parliament.
This omnibus bill will enable the implementation of a number of recommendations set out in the Increasing Deceased Organ Donation and Transplantation: A national strategy (2017) that are aimed at increasing New Zealand’s deceased organ donation and transplantation rates.
While New Zealand’s rate of deceased organ donation is increasing, it is still relatively low compared with rates in other countries. The strategy is focused on increasing the donation of deceased organs and making it easier for New Zealanders to make their donation wishes known to family/whānau.
Strategic priorities include:
- improving public awareness and media engagement
- improving New Zealand’s system of registering and sharing donation intent
- improving training
- increasing capacity
- establishing a national agency
- measuring progress.
The bill enables the New Zealand Blood Service to take on the role of a national organ donation service and extends the financial compensation for qualifying donors while they recuperate.
Dr Clarke said, “This Bill is the first step in the process towards creating a new national organ donation agency which will establish a clinical governance framework and support best practice across the sector.”
Clause 4 of the bill amends s4 (interpretation) of the Compensation for Live Organ Donors Act 2016 (CLODA) by inserting terms for interpretation. The definitions of ‘reduced hours’ and ‘usual hours’ are added.
Clause 5 of the bill amends s9 (who are qualifying donors) of the CLODA by inserting subsection (3) which states that subsection (1)(b) and (c) does not apply if the donor surgery is undertaken as part of an organ exchange programme approve by regulations.
Clause 6 amends s10 (Qualifying donors entitled to earnings compensation for up to 12 weeks while by recuperating) of the CLODA by adding a subsection (5) and (6) and provides payment for 12 weeks if the donor returns to work and is subsequently unable to continue working those hours because of the surgery, and continues to work, but on reduced hours.
Clause 7 amends s29 (the regulations) of the CLODA by inserting subsection (3) and (4) which provides that the Governor-General may, by Order in Council on the recommendation of the Minister of Health, make regulations approving an overseas organ exchange programme.
Clause 8 amends Schedule 1 of the CLODA by inserting Part 2 (Provisions relating to Act as amended by Organ Donors and related Matters Act 2019) and sections 6 and 7 which provides for the application of new section10 to previous qualifying donors.
Clause 9 amends Schedule 2 of the CLODA by inserting clause 3A which provides that the Director-General may decrease the rate of earnings compensation for a qualifying donor if, during the payment period the qualifying donor returns to employment on reduced hours.
Clause 11 amends s55(1)(b) (Functions of NZBS (New Zealand Blood Service)) of the NZPHDA by inserting s55 (1)(ba) to provide oversight and clinical governance of the organ donation and transplantation system.
The Act will come into force on the earlier of a date appointed by the Governor-General by Order in Council or the date that is 2 years after the day in which it receives the Royal assent.