HC Deb 19 July 1977 vol 935 cc1366-7
9. Mr. Dalyell

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will give the latest convenient figures for the shortage of kidneys for transplant.

The Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Security (Mr. Eric Deakins)

On 30th June 1977 there were 1,164 patients in the United Kingdom on the waiting list for transplantation. After increasing for many years, the waiting list now shows signs of levelling out.

Mr. Dalyell

Does my hon. Friend have any sympathy with the proposals for contracting out of the scheme?

Mr. Deakins

We are not convinced that the proposals for contracting out or opting out would achieve as much as advocates of the scheme suggest. Nor, in spite of some recent evidence, are we satisfied that it would be acceptable to the public at large or welcomed by the profession. Certainly, before there were to be any proposals for a radical change in the law put to Parliament there would need to be widespread consultation with professional and other bodies.

Mr. Pavitt

Is my hon. Friend monitoring the effect of the issue to learner drivers of a voluntary ticket enabling them to donate their kidneys? Will he ensure that there is close co-ordination with the Department of Transport to see that this fine scheme does not run into the sands?

Mr. Deakins

The kidney donor scheme is a good one and cards continue to be available in hospitals and doctors' waiting rooms. We are always seeking new ways of improving the distribution of these cards. In addition to being issued with first provisional driving licences, they will shortly be available in all social security offices.