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Human Tissue Transplants

Volume 982: debated on Wednesday 2 April 1980

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asked the Solicitor-General for Scotland if, pursuant to his answer in the Official Report, column 473, 5 March, he will remind procurators fiscal by circular that they must ensure in advance that human organs for transplant can be released if human lives are to be saved, and if permission is granted.

Circulars giving information and advice on the subject of human organs for transplant purposes were issued to procurators fiscal by the Crown Office in 1970, 1975 and 1977. In addition, the subject has been discussed informally at seminars and meetings of procurators fiscal. I am satisfied that procurators fiscal are already perfectly aware of the need to have available human organs for transplant purposes while ensuring that all due safeguards are complied with.

Even though the Solicitor-General is satisfied, does he agree that perhaps doctors have certain inhibitions because no doctor wants to become entangled with the procurator fiscal? Why not have a circular?

With great respect, I know of no case in which a doctor has been inhibited. Nor do I know any reason why any doctor should have any apprehension about the co-operation and the help of the procurator fiscal. If the hon. Member knows of any case, I hope that he will let me know about it and I will write to him.