§ Mr. Hayhoe
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what estimates he has made of the extent to which the public are using the kidney transplant donor card he made available last November; how many transplants have been facilitated by the use of the card; and whether the permission of the next of kin must be obtained before the kidneys of an individual holder of a card are removed for transplantation.
§ Sir K. Joseph
Over 2 million cards have been distributed so far but it is too soon to estimate the extent to which they have been taken up, or to speculate on their effect on the numbers of transplants. A clear indication of the growing acceptance of the need for kidneys for transplantation, however, is that 465 kidney transplants were recorded in the United Kingdom in the year ended 31st January 1973 compared with about 315 in the previous year. The interpretation of Section 1(1) of the Human Tissue Act 1961 is a matter for the courts, but anyhow in my view it is appropriate to seek the views of the next of kin before kidneys are used for transplantation.