The Sydney Morning Herald
Lobby groups have backed a federal plan to cover the costs of harvesting organs, saying the scheme is welcome news for people waiting for transplants.
Kidney Health Australia and the International Transplantation Society on Sunday said Australia's level of organ donation was among the lowest in the world.
"(The program) is a positive step for the hundreds of Australians waiting for an organ transplant," they said in a joint statement.
According to News Ltd reports, the federal government plans to set aside $17 million for an "activity-based funding" scheme.
Hospitals could receive up to $11,400 for each patient who becomes a donor, with the funding designed to help hospitals cover the costs linked to transplants.
Kidney Health Australia chief executive Anne Wilson said 63 per cent of all organ transplants were kidney-related with an average wait of four years.
She said one person a week on average died while waiting for a kidney transplant.
Dr Jeremy Chapman, president of the International Transplantation Society, said the $17 million in federal funds would give hospitals the ability to look after living patients who were critically ill, and in life-threatening situations, while still looking after the needs of potential deceased organ donors and their families.
"Australia is at the leading edge of ensuring ethical care of deceased organ donors and this program further improves the process," he said in the statement.
But doctors are worried that the scheme could be seen as an incentive for hospitals to pressure patients into giving away their organs, News Ltd reported.
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