St. Vincent's Hospital in Sydney.

The surgeons told NSW health officials in last week's meeting that the state government should fund mechanical pumps and circulatory support provided by the hospital to patients waiting for donated organs as those procedures are now standard in transplant units around the world.

The hospital, already mired in $5 million debt, relies only on public donations to fund transplant operations, including the implanting of $100,000 mechanical pumps to keep alive transplant patients waiting for heart donors.

Every year, the hospital implants the device on 16 patients with the total $1.6 million cost covered by donated money.

St. Vincent's will provide mechanical pumps for more and more people, according to cardiothoracic surgeon Paul Jansz, so the government must get on board and help the hospital just like what it is doing now to three other transplant units in the country.

The Alfred Hospital in Victoria gives the pump to 18 patients every year while the Royal Children's Hospital implants it on about four children yearly. The Royal Perth Hospital in Western Australia make 12 implantations per year.

A third government-funded transplant unit is in Queensland.