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Human Tissue Act

Volume 504: debated on Thursday 28 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will bring forward proposals to amend the Human Tissue Act 2004 to ensure that the rules for informal consent apply equally to imported and exported body tissue; and if he will make a statement. (314080)

The Human Tissue Act 2004 requires that these matters be dealt with through the preparation and issue of a code of practice by the Human Tissue Authority. It remains the Government's view that this is the right approach. The Human Tissue Authority published a code of practice on the import and export of human bodies, body parts and tissue in May 2007.

In relation to imports, the code says:

“Good practice requires that effective and reliable processes should be in place for acquiring evidence of informed consent from the prospective donor. This means that the importer should have in place policies and/or Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) which clearly set out the evidence indicating how informed consent was obtained, including safeguarding the confidentiality of all information relating to consent”.

In relation to exports, the code says:

“SLAs (service level agreements) should be in place to ensure that human bodies, body parts and tissue to be exported from England, Wales and Northern Ireland are used in accordance with the consent that has been obtained.”