Too many Canadians have to wait too long for organ transplants, that can save their lives. Some have to wait for years, until the right organs become available. Now a Commons health committee has some recommendations to address that problem.
The committee released its report Thursday calling for the creation of a national transplant network. The network would work with existing organ-donor groups to coordinate donor and waiting lists.
Joe Volpe, the MP who chaired the committee, says the network would cost about $3 million a year. He expects the federal and provincial health ministers to share the cost of the program.
Canada is the only developed country without a national system to match donors with needy recipients. Canada has the lowest rate of organ donation in the developed world. About 150 patients die each year waiting for organs for transplant operations.
Last November, Health Minister Allan Rock gave the Commons Health Committee a mandate to come up with something better.
On Thursday, they reported back. Liberals and Reform Party members agreed on the need for a national registry of organ donors, but they couldn't agree about what kind of patients should be on it.
The Liberals want to include only people who are brain-dead or facing imminent death. But Reform, the party that started the transplant debate, wants the government to go further.
Reform members want a registry of every healthy person who intends to become a donor. And they want a mandatory question put on forms that Canadians already fill out, such as driver's licence applications, so that everyone declares their intentions.