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Kidney Transplants

Volume 979: debated on Thursday 28 February 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is satisfied with guidelines to coroners on the circumstances in which they allow hospital authorities to take kidneys for purposes of transplant.

Yes, Sir. The code of practice recently issued by the Department of Health and Social Security was circulated to coroners on 18 December 1979, and the opportunity was taken to remind them of the guidelines set out in the Home Office letter of 29 April 1977. Copies of both these circulars have been placed in the Library of the House.

Is not there substantial evidence of the fact that as the practice varies between coroners in different parts of the country, that inhibits many doctors who might otherwise set in motion procedures for transplants?.

There is some variation in practice between coroners in different parts of the country. The hon. Gentleman should remember that the coroner is an independent judicial officer. I believe that most coroners arrange a perfectly satisfactory procedure with their local hospital.

What action does my hon. Friend intend to take to preserve the anonymity of donors? Recently, we have had to put up with some distasteful reports in the press.