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Human Organs Inquiry

Volume 405: debated on Monday 19 May 2003

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) organs, (b) blocks and (c) slides were destroyed prior to the Human Organs Inquiry. [113372]

The Report of the Human Organs Inquiry states that:

"Each hospital we visited has kept records of post mortems conducted there. However those records were not designed to and do not provide a complete paper trail, revealing what exactly was removed, kept and then disposed of."
In the absence of complete records it is not possible to answer this question. The Report does acknowledge however that human organs and tissue were destroyed and records the experience of the Royal Group of Hospitals thus:

"At different times it seems that there were 'clearouts' of retained organs which were no longer required, sometimes on a weekly basis, sometimes every three months or so. The practices were too varied at different times for them to be usefully analysed in this Report".

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether deceased persons' relatives who participated in the Human Organs Inquiry can obtain copies of the paperwork they supplied to the inquiry. [113373]

Files opened by the Human Organs Inquiry, including those containing correspondence with relatives, were placed in the Public Records Office for Northern Ireland when the inquiry completed its work in May 2002. They are currently held under a 30-year seal, which was applied to the documents to safeguard the privacy of all those involved. The Public Records Office will consider requests for documents held under seal. Where a member of the public wants to see a record that is closed, an application should be made in writing to the Public Records Office who in turn will arrange for the appropriate authority to be contacted on their behalf. Every request will be considered on its own merits.