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Kidney Donor Cards

Volume 941: debated on Wednesday 14 December 1977

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4.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport how many kidney donor cards have now been issued to applicants for provisional driving licences.

Will my hon. Friend accept the grateful thanks of many renal failure patients, especially children, whose lives have been saved by his action? May I further impress upon him that it is equally possible to extend the service to applicants for all types of driving licences rather than simply provisional ones'? Will he consult the Secretary of State for Social Services in order to secure this further provision?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his remarks. The problems about extending the scheme are purely ones of practicality. We should have to devise a new form, and by the time we did so most people would have driving licences that last up to the age of 70, and we would be back to the situation in which we could give the forms only to people applying for provisional licences. I do not think that we can extend the system too far.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that renal specialists throughout the United Kingdom appreciate what has been done, but are dismayed by the fact that so many motorists have not been given donor cards?

We are getting on to questions of privacy, practicality and cost. I am sympathetic to what has been said by the hon. Member and my hon. Friend, and we have taken sensible action. Whether we can go any further is a serious question.

As there are too many Ministers making too many excuses for not co-operating in the distribution of kidney donor cards, will my hon. Friend redouble his efforts to make sure that every traveller carries a card?

We issue forms to all people who get provisional driving licences. That is the way to achieve the maximum distribution in a sensible manner.