§ Mr. Dobson
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will introduce legislation to make illegal the sale of human organs and blood.
§ Mr. John Patten
We are opposed to the sale of human organs for transplantation, which has been condemned by the International Transplantation Society, the British Transplantation Society and a Council of Europe resolution to which the United Kingdom is signatory; I understand that the General Medical Council has been asked to give further advice on the ethical issues involved. We are determined to find ways of stopping the practice and have already made it clear that we regard it as "improper and undesirable" in terms of the Registered Homes Act 1984 and that it could, therefore, be grounds for cancellation of registration of a private hospital where it took place. We are examining the possibility of special legislation, although there would be difficulties where financial transactions take place overseas, and it would be important not to inhibit legitimate operations which save lives.
We also oppose the sale of blood, but are not aware of any such practice in this country. The national blood transfusion service does not pay its donors, and blood is supplied to non-NHS hospitals only on condition that no profit is made.