Welcome to the New Zealand Ministry of Health

The Government's principal advisor on health and disability: improving, promoting and protecting the health of all New Zealanders

New compensation for live organ donors

Title: New compensation for live organ donors

I’m a registered nurse and I’ve spent most of my nursing career in the renal field. I started this donor liaison coordinator role in June 2015.

Kidney transplants can really transform someone’s life so anything we can do to increase the number of transplants is going to be beneficial for the patients and their families and for society. So I’m part of a team that benefits patients and their families so that’s really important. It gets people off dialysis and allows them to lead a much more normal life if they have a transplant.

Dialysis is a lifesaving therapy but unfortunately it’s very time-consuming with some people spending up to 15 hours a week attached to a dialysis machine or some people spending 8 or 9 hours every night attached to a peritoneal dialysis machine. So this can add up to hundreds of hours easily every year so it’s very difficult for people to fit their normal activities of life around dialysis.

Potential donors will often ring me or get flagged up through other members of the renal service and I’ll speak with them or ideally meet them in person to ask them what their reasons are for wanting to be a donor, I’ll ask them about their health. I’ll explain about the testing process, surgery and recovery.

The tests are designed to keep the donor safe during the surgery so they can stay safe as well as we can tell for the rest of their lives with one kidney. So they’ll see nurses, doctors, anaesthetists, surgeons, psychologists – it’s a really rigorous testing process.

People do have to take time off for surgery and for the recovery.

The person usually spends three to four days in hospital and then goes home to recover and recuperate. Some people need a couple of weeks off work. Others need longer depending on how they are recovering and the kind of work they are doing. The donors have follow up after the surgery to make sure they’re healthy.

There’s going to be a new Act up and running by early December which will give donors 100 percent of their wage or salary so they can cope financially in their time off from work.

So the new Act will ensure that no donor is out of pocket by being a donor. They can just focus on being a donor rather than worrying about paying their mortgage or paying their rent.

There will be forms to fill out for the new compensation and we’ll be able to help donors fill out the forms correctly.

It’s a real privilege to work with donors through this process. And it’s a real privilege for me to see the love people have for their family members or someone in need and I find that the donors are so pleased when they can see or hear about the person in need getting better. And that makes it all worthwhile.

From 5 December 2017, the Ministry of Health will provide compensation to live organ donors for loss of earnings after donating a kidney or part of a liver.  In this video Tony Stephens, the Donor Liaison Coordinator at Capital & Coast District Health Board, talks about the difference this financial security will make and how he and colleagues working in hospitals around the country can help donors apply for this compensation.

Read more about changes to Live Organ Donor Compensation.

How immunisation works

Title: Immunisation and how it works

[Kids playing football outside]

[Voiceover] Immunisation is a simple and effective way to help protect children (and adults) against serious diseases.

By immunising your child, you give them the best start to a healthy future, and you protect your community by reducing the spread of disease.

[Slide showing chapters of the video - Immunisation and how it works, How your immunse system works, How immunisation works, Community immunity, Why it's important to immunise on time, every time, Vaccine safety]

[Slide - How your immunse system works]

[Dr Kiri Bird standing at a hospital reception desk]

Kia ora whanau, I’m Dr Kiri Bird.

Every day your body comes across many different types of germs.

Some of these can make you very sick.

[Animation show a child fighting off germs with their immune system]

Your body has a natural defence system, called the immune system, which helps fight off germs that can cause serious disease.

[Animation showing antibodies attacking germs]

One of the ways your body fights off germs is by making special antibodies that know what a particular germ looks like, and can find and destroy it.

The first time your body meets a new germ, it can take some time for your body to make these antibodies.

Until those germs are destroyed, you might get sick.

But later on, if you come across the same germ again, your body can remember it and fight it off before you get sick.

[Dr Kiri Bird standing at a hospital reception desk]

This is why once you’ve had a disease, you usually don’t catch it again because your body fights off the germ before you can get sick.

[Slide - How immunisation works]

Immunisation protects against diseases in the same way.

[Animation show how immunisation affects your immune system]

It gives your immune system a practice run with a broken-up or weakened germ so it won’t give you the disease.

Your body learns how to recognise those germs and is ready to fight them off before they can make you sick.

You may get a fever or a headache after you are given a vaccine.

This is a common response to the vaccine and should pass quickly.

If you’re worried at any time, talk with your doctor or nurse.

[Animation showing what happens once you've been immmunised and you come across the germs again]

Once you’ve been immunised, If you come across the same germ again, your body will remember it and fight off the germ before you get sick.

This is how immunisation protects against disease.

[Slide - Community immunity]

[Dr Kiri Bird sitting inside a doctor's clinic]

There’s another way that immunisation can help protect our whanau, and that’s by making sure that we don’t even come into contact with preventable diseases in the first place.

[Animation showing the differences between when only a few people are immunised disease is more likely to spread.]

[Voiceover] When only a few people are immunised, diseases can spread very quickly.

[Animation showing when a large amount of people in the community are immunised, the disease is less likely to spread]

When more people are immunised, diseases can’t spread as quickly – but are still able to spread.

But when most people are immunised, disease can’t spread through our community and so most people stay well.

There are always a few people in every community who are either too young to be immunised or have a weakened immune system, such as cancer patients.

These people can get very sick when they catch a disease, so it’s really important that everyone around them is immunised.

So, if enough people are immunised, the community as a whole can be protected.

This is called community immunity.

[Dr Kiri Bird sitting inside a doctor's clinic]

In New Zealand, measles outbreaks among teenagers and young adults are still common because many of them were not immunised as young children.

[Shots of various media stories reporting on the spread of whooping cough and measles]

[Voiceover] Diseases like whooping cough or measles can spread quickly.

If most of the people in a community are not immunised, these diseases can spread rapidly and lead to an outbreak.

Community immunity can help to prevent this risk.

[Dr Kiri Bird sitting inside a doctor's clinic]

When we choose to immunise, we not only protect ourselves, we protect our whanau, and our whole community.

[Slide - Why it's important to immunise on time, every time]

The National Immunisation Schedule sets out the best time to get immunised so that your child can be protected when they need it most.

For example, women need more protection against influenza while they are pregnant.

[Shot of Mother holding young baby]

Babies need to be protected as young as possible against whooping cough and other serious diseases.

[Slide show three babies - aged 6 weeks, 3 months and 5 months]

In New Zealand, baby’s first immunisations are due at 6 weeks, 3 months and 5 months.

Some vaccines are recommended at a slightly older age.

[Slide showing a 15 month old, 4 year old and 11 and 12 year old children]

At age 15 months, young children get immunised against measles and chickenpox, as well as boosters for some of their earlier vaccines.

[Slide showing all age groups of the diseases they need to be immunised for]

Boosters are important as they remind your immune system’s memory to keep protecting against harmful germs.

[Dr Kiri Bird sitting inside a doctor's clinic]

It’s important to immunise on time. Delaying immunisation can put your child at greater risk of catching a serious disease.

[Slide - Vaccine safety]

[Professor Swee Tan in a lab observing disease samples under microscope]

All vaccines used in New Zealand have been thoroughly tested to make sure they are safe and that they work well before they are approved, a process that can take many years.

Safety monitoring continues even after the vaccines are approved and being used by millions of people around the world.

[Dr Kiri Bird sitting inside a doctor's clinic]

That’s how we know the benefits of immunisation far outweigh any potential risk, and why immunisation is recommended by the Ministry of Health and health professionals.

[Voiceover] Protect your whanau, immunise on time.

Immunisation is the best way to protect against a number of serious diseases – it shows your body’s natural defence system how to fight off germs before they can make you sick. Check out our new video on the basics of how it all works.

Mental health services – where to get help

We all face challenges to our mental health at various times in our lives. The way we’re feeling can change how we think and how we deal with tough times.

Back to top