Organ and Tissue Authority

Organ and Tissue Authority Statement

Article Date: 

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The Organ and Tissue Authority (OTA) has been advised that a number of letters between donor family members and transplant recipients have not been exchanged in an appropriate timeframe by one DonateLife Agency. This has occurred due to a breakdown in the process within the Agency who have taken immediate action to rectify the issue and those affected will be contacted by the Agency.

There has been immediate communication of this issue to state and territory DonateLife Agencies so that internal processes can be reviewed and strengthened if required. The OTA and DonateLife have also reached out to our partners in the transplant sector who also play a key role in the receipt and delivery of letters to ensure their continued focus on this important process.

The OTA has previously worked with DonateLife Agencies and transplant units with the aim to have a system that functions effectively and respectfully for both donor families and transplant recipients. The recent issues have highlighted the need to strengthen the process for the exchange and tracking of letters.

In place already, the OTA and DonateLife have been reviewing the National Standard Operating Procedures for Donor Family and Transplant Recipient Correspondence that will be finalised in early 2020 following a consultative process.

OTA and DonateLife are grateful to the individuals and donor families who identified this recent issue. We absolutely value the important connection and expression of gratitude with the sharing of anonymous letters between donor families and recipients. The writing and receiving of letters can be a very meaningful and special part of the donation and transplantation journey.

The OTA and DonateLife Agencies view any break down in this process as unacceptable and are committed to having an effective system in place.

We offer an unreserved apology to families and recipients for any distress that this matter has caused.

For any families or recipients who are concerned, please contact your local DonateLife Agency or the OTA via email (enquiries@donatelife.gov.au) or phone (02 6198 9800).