HC Deb 14 February 1966 vol 724 cc911-2
40. Mr. Carter-Jones

asked the Minister of Health if he is satisfied with the existing facilities for publicising the importance of the early diagnosis and treatment of cancer; and if he will make a statement.

64. Sir J. Eden

asked the Minister of Health, in view of the importance of early treatment of cancer, what further steps he now proposes to take to educate the public about the symptoms and nature of this disease.

Mr. K. Robinson

I share the view that more education is needed to promote a truer understanding of cancer and of the importance of early detection. A number of local health authorities already undertake cancer health education, and I shall continue to seek ways to develop it in co-operation with them and other bodies, including the new Health Education Council when it is set up.

Mr. Carter-Jones

While thanking my right hon. Friend for his Answer, I should like to add that I believe that the time is now opportune for a massive publicity campaign in this direction carried out quickly and forcibly. Would he not agree with that sentiment?

Mr. Robinson

I am in favour of further education in this respect and I am sure that it is one of the things which the new Health Education Council will take very seriously as soon as it is in being.

Sir J. Eden

Would not one of the ways of improving education in this respect be for the Minister to authorise the expenditure of a much larger sum of money? Could he say how much is currently being spent in the cancer campaign on educational work? Would he not agree that, when we are spending about £100 million on free prescriptions and school meals, it might be a more sensible priority to divert some of the money into this important work?

Mr. Robinson

The Health Education Council will have its own budget. I cannot say, without notice, how much is currently being spent. It might be difficult to give an estimate because a great deal is spent by voluntary bodies.