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Mrs. Fyfe : To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) if he will list the statutory safeguards which ensure blood and plasma supplies will only go to private hospitals if national health service needs are satisfied ;

(2) if he will publish the supply contract for blood and plasma between the Scottish blood transfusion service and Health Care International ;

(3) what powers the transfusion service has to recover supplies from Health Care International if faced with shortages of blood for the national health service in any part of the United Kingdom.

Mr. Stewart [holding answer 10 March 1994] : My right hon. Friend has power under section 44 of the NHS (Scotland) Act 1978 where he has acquired supplies of human blood for the purpose of carrying out blood transfusion or supplies of other substances or preparations for the purposes of providing services under the 1978 Act, to make arrangements for making such supplies available to medical practitioners and other persons who require

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them and he may make those available on such terms including terms as to payment of charges and on such conditions as he may determine. Under section 54 of the 1978 Act he is required to exercise the powers conferred on him under section 44 only to the extent that he is satisfied that anything which he purported to do or allow under that power

(a) will not to a significant extent interfere with the performance by him of any duty imposed on him by the 1978 Act to provide services of any kind, and

(b) will not to a significant extent operate to the disadvantage of persons having access to services at Health Service hospitals otherwise than as private patients.

My right hon. Friend has delegated his powers in relation to section 44 of the Common Services Agency of

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which the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service is a division. The supply of blood and blood products to private hospitals is therefore subject to the obligation under section 54.

Arrangements are being made for a copy of the contract with the Health Care International to be placed in the Library. The contract stipulates that in situations of extreme shortage the regional director or depute will have the right to retrieve products from the hospital in order to maintain supplies essential for the immediate and pressing requirements of NHS- funded patients. Responsibility for blood supplies in other parts of the United Kingdom is a matter for the appropriate Secretary of State.


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