§ 43. Mr. Pavitt
asked the Minister of Health by what authority a regional hospital board has declined to provide a sterile syringe service in hospitals where authoritative medical opinion has declared that failure to provide such a service is hazardous to patients; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Braine
Provision of this service is approved policy. It is being progressively implemented in all regions.
§ Mr. Pavitt
How can the Parliamentary Secretary explain that the service has been denied in certain hospitals? Is there not an anomaly if on drugs the Minister, quite rightly, stands by the right of the doctor to prescribe what he wishes while, at the same time, when the consultant service in the hospitals demands a sterile syringe service, this is excluded on grounds of expense in certain cases of which I can inform the hon. Gentleman?
§ Mr. Braine
There is no anomaly. I said that this policy has been pressed ahead as fast as possible. The priority has to be decided in relation to other priorities by hospital management committees and regional hospital boards. I remind the hon. Gentleman that a centralised system is usually economical but it is not the only method of providing adequately sterilised syringes.