1 in 10 people on the national transplant waiting list – that is 65 people – have died waiting since the Minister signed flawed legislation last August. This is the stark reality.
Health Minister James Reilly introduced a flawed bill last year which I believe has condemned hundreds of people to longer waiting times for organ transplants. 65 families have been left without their loved ones. Hundreds of others will now have to spend at least another year waiting for a transplant or continue undergoing dialysis – this is due to a system that is not efficiently organised on a basic infrastructural level.
While certainly no system is perfect, Minster Reilly has continuously ignored the advice of the Irish Kidney Association and other national organ donation groups, as well as side stepping a debate on this crucial issue in the Dáil, Seanad and Health Committee last year before signing the EU Directive into Irish Law last August.
It’s certainly not too late to put in place a system that reduces waiting times, improves outcomes for those awaiting transplants, increases organ donations and saves the health system millions.
This issue is too important to the 1800 people on dialysis, the 500 awaiting kidney transplants and the 65 families of those who have died on waiting lists in the past year for the Minister to ignore. He must attend the Seanad to discuss amendments to his flawed bill on organ transplantation so that the correct system can be put in place, but has yet to confirm to me that he will be back from his holidays next Tuesday.
The Minister signed this bill into Irish law without consulting either House of the Oireachtas, or the Health Committee. He was asked in May 2012 by the Irish Donor Network which represents the Alpha One Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Ireland, Irish Heart and Lung Association, and the Irish Lung Fibrosis Association to bring the draft EU law before the health committee for discussion and review, and he refused to do so.
Mark Murphy, CEO of the Irish Kidney Association has pointed out that “this was the worse implementation of this EU directive on organ transplantation in any EU member state”, and welcomed the news regarding the recall of the Seanad.
This was a missed opportunity to fix our organ donation system by the Government. What the minister should have done is three-fold –
-Appoint organ transplant co-ordinators in every hospital to facilitate
-Establish one National Transplant Authority
-Laying out the groundwork for the sharing of data between state agencies
My colleagues and I have secured the recall of the Seanad to vote on annulling the EU law on Tuesday 20th August at 10am. I will be speaking on behalf of the over 500 people currently awaiting kidney transplants in Ireland, who don’t have the time to wait on government promises to fix our broken organ transplant system in the future.
The Minister implementing this EU law aimed at increasing the facility of every country to donate organs, an aim missed by the way in which this law was rammed through with out proper process. I called repeatedly on the Minister to debate the issue before he signed it. My Seanad Colleagues were unlawfully blocked by the Government from having this crucial debate this time last year, which the Government would later come back and reveal, from their own legal advice, as being an unlawful action.
The 4,000 or so people now living because of a vital organ transplant have witnessed and gone through a system ripe for reform, and the flaws in a law signed by Minister Reilly without debate, need to be urgently corrected for those still waiting.
Be part of the Conversation! Tweet @SenatorMarkDaly to stay up to date on Mark’s work for Organ Donation and Transplantation in Ireland here. The Seanad will be recalled from recess Tuesday, 20th August.