HC Deb 20 March 1967 vol 743 cc1039-40
5. Mr. Christopher Price

asked the Minister of Health what action he is taking, in the light of the recent figures for December, 1966, to rectify the low level of availability of screening for cervical cancer in the Birmingham area.

Mr. Snow

The main difficulty is shortage of facilities for examining smears in hospital laboratories. Measures to increase the numbers examined are to be introduced on 1st April.

Mr. Price

While welcoming the increase just announced by the Minister, may I ask him if he is aware that the Birmingham area has consistently had almost the worst record in the country for cervical cancer screening? Will he pay particular attention to areas like Birmingham which, for one reason or another, seem to be lagging behind the rest of the country?

Mr. Snow

Yes, Sir, and it is for this reason that, from 1st April, there will be increased facilities, amounting in this instance to 40 smears a week being taken, in the Birmingham-West Bromwich areas. Examination will be done at St. Margaret's Hospital, Great Barr. Additional laboratory facilities will also be provided and an expanded capacity is being produced very quickly to examine smears at Selly Oak and in two other hospital areas.