HC Deb 04 November 1986 vol 103 cc816-7 4.10 pm
Mr. Geoffrey Lofthouse (Pontefract and Castleford)

I beg to move, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to enable potential adult organ donors to specify the uses to which their organs may be put. The House is aware that, since the inception of the National Health Service in 1948, it has been recognised that a doctor may choose to work in the private sector, in the private and National Health Service sector or solely in the National Health Service. Many doctors refuse to treat private patients because, they argue, their principles would be jeopardised if monetary considerations played any part in medical judgments. I admire their principles. In medical matters, more than in any other, there should he no market-place concept of supply and demand.

The principles that have operated for almost 40 years should be extended. Organ transplant donors should have the right to prescribe the use to which their vital organs should be put. If a doctor can say that he will not treat patients in private beds, donors should have the right to say that their kidneys, livers, hearts, eyes and lungs cannot be given to patients occupying private beds.

The Bill's aim is simple. I merely wish the donor card to identify the donor's wishes. Any doctor who leaves the National Health Service to work in one of the hospitals so loved by richer people compromises his medical ethics. He demonstrates that he will go where the money is. Such doctors are moving to a situation in which a compromise of high moral principle is possible. If National Health Service patients are in direct competition with private patients for transplant organs, such doctors might also allow financial considerations to modify clinical ones.

Of course, not everyone will agree with my diagnosis of private doctors. Donors who disagree can specify that their organs go to patients in private beds or to any patients who require organ donations. However, a number of people require that their transplanted organs go solely to National Health Service patients. It is impossible for many people to avoid being exploited during their lifetime, but it is possible, in this limited case, to ensure that they will not be exploited after death.

Should a private patient for whom a transplant has been perfectly matched need the organ of a donor who has stated that a part of his body should go only to a National Health Service patient, the solution is simple. All he needs to do is to become a National Health Service patient. of course, the private doctor would lose money, but he might save a life.

My Bill urges that the reverse side of the donor card should present three choices. At present, as the House will be aware, it reads: I request that after my death (a) my kidneys, eyes, heart, liver, pancreas be used for transplantation. My Bill will offer three choices of the patients who may be given the transplants: first, patients treated wholly in private beds, secondly, patients treated wholly in National Health Service beds, and thirdly, all patients.

My Bill is simple. It gives a right to the donor to decide whether to donate his organs to patients in private beds, all patients, or patients in National Health Service beds.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. Geoffrey Lofthouse, Mr. Roy Mason, Mr. Kevin Barron, Mr. Dennis Skinner, Mr. Derek Fatchett, Mr. Peter Hardy, Mr. Frank Dobson, Mr. Allen McKay, Mr. Walter Harrison, Mr. William O'Brien, Mr. Alec Woodall and Mr. A. E. P. Duffy.

  1. ORGAN DONOR CARDS 49 words