HC Deb 11 June 1968 vol 766 c5
5. Mr. Driberg

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that certain imported plastic surgical instrumentation is less thoroughly sterilised than comparable British products necessarily sold at a higher price; what steps he is taking to ascertain whether this equipment is sterile; when he will announce an official definition of the word sterile; and if, meanwhile, he will ensure that none of the imported products will be bought for the National Health Service.

Mr. Snow

The sterility of these products can only be ascertained with certainty by inspection of manufacturing conditions and methods; the system of control by inspection and other means is being extended; there is no doubt about the definition of the word sterile; hospital authorities are warned when my Department has reason to believe that an item of medical equipment may be hazardous.

Mr. Driberg

Does my hon. Friend agree that it is also extremely important to seek to define standards of packaging, and is he aware that shoddily packaged products identical with those that he told me in a letter would be rejected are now being bought by the Army and shipped all over the world to British military hospitals?

Mr. Snow

I shall certainly look into that matter in collaboration with my right hon. Friend in the Ministry of Defence, and when I have ascertained the facts so far as they affect my Department I shall write to my hon. Friend.