HC Deb 23 July 1962 vol 663 cc942-3
29. Mr. Nabarro

asked the Minister of Health what consideration he is giving to combining tests in radiological mobile units for detection of chest ailments with appropriate tests for detection of excessive blood sugar and similar diabetic symptoms; and how he is increasing facilities for diabetic diagnosis.

Mr. Powell

It is undesirable to link the two procedures. There is no lack of facilities for diagnosis.

Mr. Nabarro

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the evidently large number of undiagnosed diabetics in this country today, which are said to run to several hundreds of thousands, represents a cause of a great deal of alarm? As the Americans appear to be ahead of us in the mass diagnosis of this disease, cannot my right hon. Friend say what additional steps are being advised to local health authorities to diagnose it more accurately and on a wider scale?

Mr. Powell

I am aware of the figures to which my hon. Friend referred, but if we were to combine mass diagnosis of diabetes with mass radiography I am afraid that the result would be that we should reduce the very important scale of the resort to mass radiography. For the present, it is right that the available facilities—very full facilities—should be used by and through the general practitioner service.

Mr. W. Griffiths

In addition to the undetected cases referred to by the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro), has the Minister's attention been drawn to a survey of diagnostic procedures carried out some months ago in Scottish hospitals which revealed a high percentage—40 per cent.—of wrong diagnosis? In view of the undetected cases and the alarmingly high percentage of wrong diagnosis, surely the Minister ought to have a look at this very important matter?

Mr. Powell

If this was in Scottish hospitals, obviously I must not comment on the individual point, but I do not think that mass diagnosis would meet the difficulty, if it exists, to which the hon. Gentleman refers.

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