Kidney Transplants

Oral Answers to Questions — Social Services – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th March 1972.

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Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian 12:00 am, 14th March 1972

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what conveniently available figures he has of the number of people, in 1971, for whom a kidney transplant was requested by medical authorities, and who were turned down.

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Barkston Ash

These are matters of clinical judgment which cannot be accurately assessed by statistics. I understand, however, that the latest figures indicated that some 700 patients on dialysis were likely to be clinically suitable for renal transplantation.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian

If the Government are reluctant to amend the Human Tissue Act, will they consider a second-best course of action and institute a system of medical identity cards giving details of blood groups, allergies, and so on? That would be an advantage not only to potential recipients but also to donors who might be badly hurt in an accident.

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Barkston Ash

The hon. Member has been kind enough to send he his model idea on the question and we are considering this. We have put in hand an arrangement at the National Tissue Type Reference Laboratory at Bristol precisely to tie up potential donors and recipients who are compatible.

Photo of Mr Laurie Pavitt Mr Laurie Pavitt , Willesden West

Is the Minister aware that 99 per cent. of Press reports about the National Health Service concern things that go wrong? Will the Under-Secretary instruct his public information department, therefore, to shout from the housetops about what is being done in this sphere? For example, there are the transplants that are taking place through the Euro bank, matching dialysis patients with those that need new kidneys, and the way in which practically every week a kidney is flown from Stockholm, Bonn or Paris for an operation in one of our hospitals which saves a life. This is the marvellous job that the National Health Service is doing.

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Barkston Ash

I am grateful for that helpful contribution to the information that we have on the subject. About 200 transplant operations are already carried out a year, and the trend, I am happy to say, is upwards.