HC Deb 18 December 1990 vol 183 cc148-9
12. Mr. Dunn

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what advances have been made in transplant treatments in the last 11 years.

Mr. Waldegrave

Over the past 11 years, there have been unprecedented advances in the number of organs transplanted, in the development of new forms of transplant and in improving the results of transplants. The Government remain wholly committed to the organ transplant programme.

Mr. Dunn

Although I acknowledge that the United Kingdom's record on transplants is excellent, will the Secretary of State confirm the steps being taken by his Department to overcome the shortage in the supply of donor organs?

Mr. Waldegrave

The main thing that the House can do is to redouble its appeals to people to carry donor cards. I am grateful to my hon. Friend for paying tribute to what has been done. It is an example of a wholly new health service activity—an almost completely new activity—in the past 10 years. There was virtually none of this under the previous Labour Government, which shows the development of services that we have been able to achieve.

Mr. Galbraith

It will come as a disappointment to the House that the Government's only contribution to increasing the number of donor organs is to increase the number of donor cards carried by individuals. Although that is successful to a limited extent, it is not proving sufficient to deal with the continuing problem of the shortage of donor organs. Have the Government no other plans to increase the number of donor organs available for transplantation?

Mr. Waldegrave

As the hon. Gentleman quite likely knows, various other matters are under consideration. The United Kingdom transplant service, which is funded centrally from my Department, will continue to receive our support. We have considered alternative schemes, such as the opting-out proposal, which has been raised in some European countries. It has not found much favour with us and, from the expression on the hon. Gentleman's face, it does not find much favour with him.