HC Deb 21 June 1972 vol 839 cc450-1
9. Dr. Miller

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is satisfied with the precautions taken in Scottish hospitals against the possible contamination of glucose solutions, saline solutions, and other substances used in transfusions; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Monro

I have asked Scottish hospital authorities to re-examine urgently their existing methods of production of these solutions in the light of the recommendations set out in the "Guide to Good Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Practice" published by the Department of Health and Social Security.

As regards commercially produced solutions, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services has set up two inquiries following recent instances of contamination, one under the National Health Service Act, 1946, and the other to be undertaken by the Medicines Commission under the Medicines Act, 1968. When the findings of these inquiries are available I shall consider whether further advice need be given to Scottish hospitals.

Dr. Miller

Will the hon. Gentleman accept that there is a considerable degree of gratification at the fact that he is embarking upon a course which might well save the lives of a number of people? Will he take into consideration the fact that it is possible to devise a test which could be applied just before a solution is used on a patient? If that is not possible in every case, it certainly is possible for solutions to be tested one day or two days in advance to be used a couple of days afterwards. Will the hon. Gentleman accept that, although we fully complement him on what he has done so far, there are other moves he can make to prevent tragedies occuring in Scottish hospitals similar to the tragedies which have occurred in other parts of the United Kingdom?

Mr. Monro

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. As he knows, my right hon. Friend said on 4th May that only sample testing is possible because bottles tested cannot subsequently be used. The procedures are being looked into by the Medicines Commission. If the hon. Gentleman has a system that he believes we should know about, perhaps he will let us know.