Organ donation and transplantation streamlined in new national system - Patient/donor registries and $35 million in new funding will save lives

    OTTAWA, Aug. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Federal, provincial and territorial
ministries of health announced today a combined investment of $35 million over
the next five years to create an integrated national system to significantly
improve organ donation and transplantation in Canada.
    Under the new funding arrangement, the Canadian Council for Donation and
Transplantation (CCDT) has merged with Canadian Blood Services, which has
expanded its mandate and operations beyond blood services and into organ and
tissue donation and transplantation.
    Provinces and territories, except Québec, will provide half the total
funding, and jurisdictions will collaborate with Canadian Blood Services in
the creation of three priority national registries to more quickly match
patients and donors across Canada.
    "National and provincial registries are critical tools for clinicians and
patients. These investments mean we will be able to offer hope and save more
lives," said Alberta Minister of Health and Wellness Ron Liepert, on behalf of
the provinces and territories.
    "Health Canada is pleased to have financially supported the excellent
work of the CCDT over the last six years. This work has served to identify key
priorities and solutions for improving the coordination of organ and tissue
donation and transplantation across Canada, and to bring us to this new
juncture," said Tony Clement, Federal Minister of Health.
    Health Canada's support to Canadian Blood Services ($3.58 million per
year for five years) is targeted for public education and awareness, support
for leading clinical practices and system performance improvement, and the
development of a strategic plan.
    "Canadian Blood Services takes seriously our new responsibilities for
donation and transplantation in Canada, and will work closely with organ and
tissue stakeholders in moving the work of the CCDT to action," said Dr. Graham
Sher, Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Blood Services.
    Ministers of health strongly encourage all Canadians to consider organ
and tissue donation and discuss their wishes with family. Canadians from
diverse communities can make the life saving choice to become organ donors.

    About Canadian Blood Services

    Canadian Blood Services is a national, not-for-profit charitable
organization that manages the blood supply in all provinces and territories
outside of Quebec and oversees the country's OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow
Network. A dedicated team of about 4,600 staff and 17,000 volunteers enable us
to operate 41 permanent collection sites and more than 20,000 donor clinics
annually. Canadian Blood Services is a non-governmental organization, however
the Provincial and Territorial Ministers of Health provide operational
funding, and the federal government, through Health Canada, is responsible for
regulating the blood system. For more information, please visit our Web site

    (Backgrounder attached)


    The need

    Canada, like other developed countries, is unable to keep pace with the
demand for organs. 4,195 Canadians were on wait-lists for organ transplants on
December 31, 2007. In the same year, 193 Canadians died waiting for an organ
    While provincial organ procurement organizations and transplant programs
continue to make concerted efforts, donation opportunities are missed and
there is an urgent need for national patient registries to improve organ
availability and usage.

    Canadian Statistics for Donation and Transplantation           2007
    Patients waiting for a transplant                              4195
    Patients who died while waiting                                 193
    Neurological determination of death (NDD) referrals            1526
    NDD potential                                                   528
    NDD procured                                                    471
    Donation after cardiocirculatory death (DCD) potential           24
    DCD procured                                                     22
    Transplants - Total                                            2188
    Transplants (NDD)                                              1580
    Transplants (DCD)                                                59
    Transplants (living related)                                    413
    Transplant (living unrelated)                                   136
    Organs exported to US                                            11
    Organs imported from US                                          42

    Data are subject to change based on future data submissions or
corrections and may vary from previously published reports. From: Canadian
Institute for Health Information, Canadian Organ Replacement Register

    History of the agencies

    With the end of the mandate for the Canadian Council for Donation and
Transplantation (CCDT) in view, Canadian Blood Services was asked by the
Conference of F/P/T Deputy Ministers of Health, in the fall of 2007, to
develop a proposal for assuming and extending the functions of the CCDT.
Canadian Blood Services conducted consultations with experts across the
country to understand the environment and needs of stakeholders.
    The initiative has subsequently been supported by the CCDT Board, the
Canadian Blood Services Board, and federal, provincial and territorial
ministers of health. Québec, having its own organizations responsible for
blood services and organ and tissue donation and transplantation, Héma-Québec
and Québec Transplant, does not fund nor participate in this new initiative,
but will continue to work in collaboration with Canadian Blood Services.

    Next steps

    Canadian Blood Services will take a phased approach in providing
nationally integrated donor registries and other services, which will include
the priority implementation of a living organ donor registry and the
development of a strategic plan based on stakeholder consultations and risk

For further information:

For further information: Media inquiries: Lindy McIntyre, Acting
Director Media Relations and External Communications, (613) 739-2044, C. (306)

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Canadian Blood Services

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