HC Deb 21 May 1992 vol 208 cc230-1W
Mr. Burns

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in dealing with the unforeseen consequences of the confidentiality provisions in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990.

Mr. Sackville

The Government yesterday introduced in another place a Bill to make certain specified relaxations in the restrictions on the disclosure of information by licensed clinicians imposed by section 33(5) of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990. The Bill has been published today.

Since the 1990 Act came into force, practical experience has shown that the restrictions were in some respects too tightly drawn and they have led to unintended risks and difficulties. The Bill therefore proposes to put matters right by making carefully limited changes in one section of the Act, which in other respects is working well. It seeks to ease the restrictions on the release of information about patients who receive infertility treatment. The circumstances in which disclosure would be permitted would be closely defined.

The Bill is solely about the disclosure of information falling within section 31(2) of the 1990 Act by a licensed person. Except in specified circumstances the patient's consent will be required before any identifying information can be disclosed.