A cross-party committee of MPs have unanimously called on Parliament to ensure live organ donors are paid 100 per cent of their normal income during recovery.
Parliament’s Health Select Committee has given a ringing endorsement to National Party MP Chris Bishop’s bill, by calling for it to be passed into law and boosting the amount donors would be paid.
Under its first iteration, the bill would have increased financial support for living donors to 80 per cent of their income.
Initially indexed to the ACC rate, the bill if passed, would reward live organ donors for their altruism significantly more than the sickness benefit they were currently entitled to.
It was a measure Bishop hoped would both improve New Zealand’s organ donation rates, and reward people fairly – without providing incentive – to make such a decision.
“There are more than 700 people accepted for a kidney transplant and around 40 people for liver, cardiac or lung transplants.
“Currently live organ donors are essentially penalised for their altruism, facing a large loss of income while they donate, even though their actions save lives and contribute to a healthier New Zealand,” he said.
In the committee’s report to Parliament it recommended a number of changes to be made.
Donors would be reimbursed at 100 per cent of their income for up to 12 weeks during recovery, as in the United Kingdom.
Great to see both support for the bill, and the Health Select Committee doing a great job by improving the bill.
Our organ donation rates are very low, and this bill will help improve them, saving lives.
Bishop said current rates of payment were a “significant barrier” to organ donation.
“This is a substantial improvement on the status quo and reflects a ‘cost-neutrality’ approach, where donating should neither financially advantage or disadvantage a person.”
Donors shouldn’t be disadvantaged for their altruism.