§ 15. Mrs. Joyce Butler
asked the Minister of Health what progress has been made with a national cervical cancer screening service for all women at risk.
§ Mr. K. Robinson
By June this year almost 51,000 women a month were being tested in hospital, local authority and family planning clinics and by general practitioners. There were 283 pathologists and 383 technicians trained in cytology working in hospital laboratories and another 29 pathologists and 131 technicians undergoing training. About a third of the laboratories which propose to provide a cytological service should be able to support routine screening in the areas they serve by the end of this year.
§ Mrs. Butler
While I thank my hon. Friend for the figures and appreciate his interest in this question, is it not a fact that progress is still much too slow in dealing with this scourge which could be eliminated entirely, and which is so disturbing? In view of the wastage from marriage and other causes, could he launch a drive to encourage fully qualified married women laboratory technicians to return on a part-time basis to their local hospitals?
§ Mr. Robinson
I will consider what my hon. Friend said about part-time married women technicians. We need a great many more part-time women in many branches of the Health Service. We need about 500 whole-time equivalent 987 technicians for the national screening service. The 514 I mentioned in my Reply do not spend all their time in cytology and I understand that they represent the equivalent of 310 working full time.
§ 29. Mr. Murray
asked the Minister of Health what progress has been made in Kent in obtaining qualified staff for routine screening for cervical cancer.
§ Mr. Loughlin
Progress continues. All the hospital management committees in Kent, save Tunbridge Wells, have extra staff trained or nominated for training.
§ Mr. Murray
While thanking my hon. Friend for that reply, may I ask him if he will now consider the possibility of organising mobile clinics where clinics cannot be provided in set centres in Kent?
§ Mr. Loughlin
I understand that there would be considerable difficulty in providing mobile clinics for this purpose.