Clause 56 - General interpretation

Human Tissue Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 5th February 2004.

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Amendments made: No. 109, in

clause 56, page 33, line 42, at end insert—

'( ) In this Act, references to public display, in relation to the body of a deceased person, do not include—

(a) display for the purpose of enabling people to pay their final respects to the deceased, or

(b) display which is incidental to the deceased's funeral.'

No. 110, in

clause 56, page 34, line 9, after first 'sister,' insert 'grandparent, grandchild,'.—[Ms Rosie Winterton.]

Question proposed, That the clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Evan Harris Evan Harris Liberal Democrat, Oxford West and Abingdon

I rise to raise with the Minister for future consideration the question of definitions. It is not my purpose to reopen the debate on clause 1 and schedule 1, but despite the Under-Secretary putting on the record the term ''public weal'' to explain public health monitoring—we have since determined how he meant that be spelled, and some of us even know what he meant, although I am sure that he did throughout—it is still not clear what such monitoring includes by way of epidemiological examinations. He accepted that there may have been an issue, but said that such examinations would generally be included but would not necessarily mean any research done on samples that were irreversibly anonymised and would always remain unlinked from the patient's record. I do not want to misquote him, but I thought that was his view.

I know that that is not a matter for debate now. However, regardless of whether the Government accept that the drafting needs to be wider than it is, if we are still questioning the issue in Committee it might be worth their thinking about taking the opportunity at a later stage—or putting my mind completely at rest now, which I think would be difficult—to clarify exactly what is covered and what is not. As the issue comes under schedule 1, people may feel deterred from undertaking perfectly legitimate activities. I do not believe that it can be left to codes of practice, since there will be genres of research and research propositions that will evolve more quickly than codes of practice are amended.

I hope that the Minister will accept that thought in the spirit in which it is meant. It might save us time in later stages if we can have further clarification.

Photo of Rosie Winterton Rosie Winterton The Minister of State, Department of Health

We will look back at the remarks made earlier in the Committee. I note what the hon. Gentleman has said, and I assure him that, if we feel that more can be done to clarify the position, we will return to the matter.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 56, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 57 ordered to stand part of the Bill.