The lives of three young South Australians have been changed forever thanks to the resumption of cross-border kidney transplants following our state’s lifting of restrictions surrounding the surgery ahead of our eastern neighbours.

Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Stephen Wade, said the transplants were made possible because South Australians had done an exceptional job in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 through social distancing and other public health strategies.

“All kidney transplant surgeries were suspended to ensure patient safety and as part of a broader effort to make hospital beds and equipment available for an expected influx of coronavirus patients,” Minister Wade said.

“With our state’s restrictions now eased, we are excited to once again be able to provide this important service and have already coordinated the first of many life-changing kidney transplants.

“We are committed to improving the health and wellbeing of all South Australians and we are proud to see different sectors working together to achieve this incredible outcome.”

With Victoria’s deceased donor program remaining on hold due to their state-based restrictions, SA Health worked together with SAPOL to gain Essential Travel clearance to facilitate the smooth passage of the kidneys via road travel between the borders and get them to the Royal Adelaide Hospital for immediate surgery.

Two of the kidneys were transported to Adelaide from Victoria on Sunday, while the third kidney arrived yesterday.

All three young recipients are recovering from their surgeries, on Sunday and last night respectively, at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Director of Transplant Medicine at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Dr Toby Coates, said the restart is positive news for patients on the transplant waiting list.

“While patients can be maintained successfully with dialysis treatment, a transplant is the ultimate treatment because it offers significant benefits in terms of life expectancy and the quality of life,” Dr Coates said.

“The fact that kidney transplantation can now resume safely will have a profound impact on the lives of our patients and their families.

“We are overjoyed to have this service back in operation and look forward to getting back to providing six to eight kidney transplants every month.”

Depending on the urgency, the average wait time for a kidney transplant is about three years.