PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES

HOUSE OF COMMONS

OFFICIAL REPORT

First Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, &c.

DRAFT CORNEAL TISSUE (NORTHERN IRELAND) ORDER 1988

Thursday 28 July 1988

LONDON

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1

The Committee consisted of the following Members:

Chairman: Mr. John McWilliam

Adley, Mr. Robert (Christchurch)

Allen, Mr. Graham (Nottingham, North)

Alton, Mr. David (Liverpool, Mossley Hill)

Baker, Mr. Nicholas (Dorset, North)

Brazier, Mr. Julian (Canterbury)

Budgen, Mr. Nicholas (Wolverhampton, South-West)

Canavan, Mr. Dennis (Falkirk, West)

Evennett, Mr. David (Erith and Crayford)

Flannery, Mr. Martin (Sheffield, Hillsborough)

Illsley, Mr. Eric (Barnsley, Central)

Lightbown, Mr. David (Staffordshire, South-East)

Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)

Marshall, Mr. Jim (Leicester, South)

Martin, Mr. David (Portsmouth, South)

Needham, Mr. Richard (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland)

Parry, Mr. Robert (Liverpool, Riverside)

Wood, Mr. Timothy (Stevenage)

Yeo, Mr. Tim (Suffolk, South)

Miss P. A. Helme, Committee Clerk

2
3 First Standing Committee on Statutory Instruments, &c. Thurday 28 July 1988

[MR. JOHN MCWILLIAM in the Chair]

Draft Corneal Tissue (Northern Ireland) Order 1988

10.30 am

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mr. Richard Needham): I beg to move, That the Committee has considered the draft Corneal Tissue (Northern Ireland) Order 1988. I hope that on this pleasant morning I am not interfering with your holiday plans by having you here today, Mr. McWilliam. I see from the smiling faces of my hon. Friends that they are all here as willing volunteers rather than as the Whip's hard-pressed men. The order reflects the Act introduced by my hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Mr. Hannam). It brings Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the United Kingdom and was originally, not to mix my metaphors, his brainchild. The order is necessary in Northern Ireland for the same reasons that it was necessary here. It will not only reduce the numbers waiting for grafting—there are 150 people on the list who are waiting up to 18 months—but will also allow an increase in the supply of tissue for research and medical education. The order achieves this extremely desirable end by allowing properly qualified technicians to undertake the work instead of the senior house registrars who do it at present. The registrars have a busy operating clinical timetable and have difficulty in finding adequate time to remove eyes from patients who die 4 at home or in smaller hospitals without ophthalmic centres. The safeguards written into the order mirror those in the 1986 Act to ensure that the work is properly supervised and that the wishes of the dead person and his relatives are fully taken into consideration. The provisions of the order were thoroughly considered by colleagues involved in the Corneal Tissue Act 1986 which received all-party support. If there are any questions I shall of course do my best to answer them. I commend the order to the House.

10.32 am

Mr. Jim Marshall (Leicester, South): It is not my intention to detain the Committee for long. I thank the Minister for giving a full explanation of what the order is about. I accept that it brings the legislation in Northern Ireland into line with that applying throughout Great Britain, which received all-party support when it passed through the House some years ago. The order also has our support. Finally, it is a pleasure to see the Minister still in his place. There were fears in recent weeks, and perhaps in recent days, that he might be one of the casualties of the reshuffle. We are pleased that he was not a victim, and although we can think of other colleagues in his Department who perhaps should have been, we are pleased that he is still here.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved. That the Committee has considered the draft Corneal Tissue (Northern Ireland) Order 1988.

The Chairman: This being the last Standing Committee of the Session, may I wish you all a happy and restful recess, especially the Clerks, the Hansard staff, the Doorkeeper, the policeman and the civil servants, who have no choice but to be here.

Committee rose at twenty-six minutes to Eleven o'clock.

THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS ATTENDED THE COMMITTEE:

Mr. John McWilliam, (Chairman)

Baker, Mr. Nicholas

Budgen, Mr.

Lightbown, Mr.

Marshall, Mr. Jim

Martin, Mr. David

Needham, Mr.

Wood, Mr.