§ Mr. Ashley
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, pursuant to his reply of 5 February, he will define the term"new kidney patients"; if he will give figures showing the incidence of renal failure in each of the health regions; and whether he considers it to be satisfactory that in 1979 the number of new kidney patients in the regions varied from 14.1 per million to 30.0, if South-East and South-West Thames, where there are special factors, are excluded.
§ Dr. Vaughan
[pursuant to his reply, 16 February 1981, Vol. 999, c. 3571: The term"new kidney patients" refers to patients starting treatment for the firt time, either by 41W dialysis or transplant, for chronic renal failure. No figures are available for the incidence of renal failure in health regions. Variations in the level of treatment facilities are the result of a number of factors, some of them historical. I do not regard the level of these facilities, either nationally or in individual regions, as satisfactory. I would expect the existing level of services for kidney patients to be among the factors taken into account by a health authority in deciding its priorities for future development, but there is a limit to the rate at which authorities can increase provision given the many calls on their limited resources. As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister stated in her reply to the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) on 12 January—[Vol. 996 c. 469–70]—we welcome the valuable work being done by voluntary organisations to supplement the resources of the NHS. In addition, we hope that our continued promotion of the donor card scheme, and the improved multi-organ donor card which we plan to introduce shortly, will help in the urgent task of obtaining more donor kidneys for transplantation.