§ 2. Mr. Fortescue
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will take steps to ensure that oral contraceptives issued by the Family Planning Association are provided only under qualified medical supervision.
§ The Secretary of State for Social Services (Mr. Richard Crossman)
Rule 31(2) of the Poisons (No. 2) Rules 1968 already provides that oral contraceptives must not be supplied from a family planning clinic except on and in accordance with a prescription given by a duly qualified medical practitioner.
§ Mr. Fortescue
Is the Secretary of State aware that at some clinics the Family Planning Association, for the work of which in general I have the utmost respect, issues oral contraceptives to women returning for a second six months' supply without the women having been seen or examined by a doctor? In view of the potential danger of some of these drugs, will he take steps to investigate this situation?
§ Mr. Crossman
What the hon. Gentleman has said is news to me. I was aware that from time to time they were issued by non-medical members of the team, but I gathered that that was mainly because some women could not afford to pay for them all at one go and came back for some afterwards. I do not believe that they are issued other than 930 under strict medical directive, as is prescribed. However, if the hon. Gentleman has any evidence to the contrary, I hope he will bring it to me.
§ Mr. Pavitt
Can my right hon. Friend say why non-oral contraceptive devices are free of charge whereas teeth and spectacles have to be paid for?
§ Mr. Crossman
I suspect that that question is rather different from that which I have just answered.