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Noble Lords will be aware that my noble and learned friend’s report is a wonderful document. I warmly thank him again, and my noble friend Lord Morris, for their work on behalf of haemophilia patients and their families. We recognise that the lives of many people have been seriously impaired and appreciate that noble Lords wish to take every opportunity to remedy this situation as far as they are able.

The establishment of a statutory committee is one of a number of recommendations made by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Archer. The Government take the report very seriously. We are giving careful consideration to all the recommendations. In light of this, it would be premature to implement any one of the recommendations before we have had time to consider the implications. However, some feedback from the Government on this matter is entirely possible before we reach the next stage of the Bill, which I hope that noble Lords will take into consideration.

My noble friend asked about vCJD screening tests. He is quite correct that no screening test was available. Getting a validated screening test is a priority. Prion filters are available, which we are testing with all speed. Those tests are still under way. Addressing this situation is a priority. We are taking the matter very seriously indeed.

There is no doubt that this group of patients has suffered tragic consequences as a result of these serious infections. It is important to ensure that the patients concerned and their families are properly supported, and to act to reduce as far as practically possible any future risk to patients who need blood and blood products.

I am sorry that we are unable to consider the matter further. I suspect and hope that we shall have a much longer and more serious debate on aspects of the report in the House. I have answered one question; we have dealt with it very briefly. That is not a satisfactory way of dealing with the important report of my noble and learned friend. However, until all its aspects have been considered, I would ask my noble friend to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Morris of Manchester: This is not the moment to press the amendment, to which we can of course return on Report. No effort will be spared in doing everything that parliamentarians can do to vouchsafe full implementation of the Archer report’s recommendations. Naturally, I deeply regret that there has not been time even for the noble and learned Lord, Lord Archer, to

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speak in the debate. All of us want to say to Peter that he is held in high admiration, and we shall do our very best to see that justice is done to his exceedingly helpful and humane report. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 133 withdrawn.

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Clauses 33 and 34 agreed.

Schedule 6 agreed.

Clauses 35 to 37 agreed.

Bill reported with amendments.

Committee adjourned at 7.35 pm.

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