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New Zealand Specific Healthcare Question 13
What are your views on the current organ donation policy in New Zealand?
The current “opt-in” model of organ donation in New Zealand is not meeting the country’s need. This is shown by the fact that New Zealand has one of the lowest organ donation rates in the world and that many individuals die while waiting and for a replacement organ.
The current policy currently does not protect the donor's wishes, due to the fact that their decision can, and frequently is overruled by their next of kin/family. This may be due to personal or religious reasons on the families part.
This suggests that stronger legislation needs to be developed regarding the individual's wishes with regard to organ donation. This will not only protect the individual’s right to choose what happens to their bodies but could also improve the current donation rates.
There are also a number of misconceptions surrounding organ donation policy, which need to be addressed in order to improve donation rates. These are related to the age of the donor, circumstances surrounding the donor’s death and the false belief that once the box is checked on your driver license indicating that the individual wishes to be an organ donor that this will happen, regardless of the opinions of your family.