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Human Tissue Act

Volume 828: debated on Tuesday 21 December 1971

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will seek to amend the Human Tissue Act, with a view to implementing the recommendations of the committee under Sir Hector MacLennan on organ transplants.

The matter is still under review and I cannot yet add to what my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and I said in our replies to the hon. Member on 15th and 22nd June, 1971.—[Vol. 819, c. 229–30, 1180–1.]

Does "under review" mean that the MacLennan's Committee Report has been pigeon-holed and, if so, what plans does the Department have to face up to this urgent problem of supplying transplant organs to the differing blood groups?

It has not been pigeonholed, but there are at least three reports which have come out recently which have to be studied together before Government policy on this subject can be finalised.

Would my right hon. Friend confirm that the controversy about heart transplants will not be allowed by the Government to impede the development of other organ transplants, kidney transplants in particular, on which so much progress is being made in my constituency and other constituencies?

Would the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that Sir Hector MacLennan's Committee reported 2½ years ago and that the Committee comprised many distinguished people? Does he appreciate that while he is studying many hundreds of people are dying, people who require kidney transplants but for whom donors are not available?

I am not sure that I can accept the terms of the hon. Lady's supplementary—

but it does not follow, even if it were true, that a change in the law would necessarily produce the extra kidneys for transplants. It is this delicate question which we are studying.