§ Lord EVANS of CLAUGHTON
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Why kidney machine treatment in the Liverpool area has been made available only on a restricted basis calculated according to the age of the patient, and why such a decision amounting to a matter of life or death has not been disclosed; and further whether any steps can be taken in conjunction with the appropriate Health Authorities to deploy funds with such priority as to prevent fatalities from kidney malfunction which would not otherwise occur if the appropriate equipment were available.
§ Lord WELLS-PESTELL
Neither the Mersey Regional Health Authority nor the Liverpool Area Health Authority (Teaching) has defined any criteria for the acceptance of patients for the treatment of renal failure. This is judged on clinical criteria by the consultants concerned, and age is only one of a number of factors which would be taken into account.
The Government attach high priority to the expansion of dialysis services. Of the England share of the £50 million increase for health services announced in the April Budget, some 8 per cent. has been allocated for this purpose. Of 800WA this, £90,000 capital and £125,000 recurrent expenditure have been allocated to Mersey Regional Health Authority to set up 2 minimal care units. These units, at Waterloo Hospital and Hoylake Cottage Hospital, are expected to come into use in the first half of next year. In addition, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Social Services has allocated £150,000 of special medical development funds for a further minimal care unit which opened last month at Mossley Hill Hospital. By freeing hospital places for training patients for home dialysis, these developments will enable the number of placements on home dialysis to be increased from the present level of 20–25 to 50–55 a year.