HC Deb 09 March 1970 vol 797 c886
5. Mr. Hunt

asked the Secretary of State for the Social Services what reply he has sent to the letter addressed to him by the Bromley Tuberculosis Chest and Heart Care Committee following his decision to end the mass X-ray scheme.

Dr. John Dunwoody

As previously requested by the hon. Member, a copy of the reply sent to the Bromley Tuberculosis, Chest and Heart Care Committee has been sent to him.

Mr. Hunt

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the reply has done very little to reassure the committee or people who fear that the great majority of those who at present take advantage of the mobile scheme will be reluctant to go to hospital for similar X-ray checks in future? Would he speculate on what he might now be saying if the sort of cut-back in National Health facilities he is making had been carried out by a Tory Government?

Dr. Dunwoody

First, nearly 40 per cent. of the active cases picked up in the last year or so by the mass X-ray service have come through family general practitioner services. Secondly, I regard this, not as a cut-back, but as a more effective and rational use of resources of which we are short—skilled manpower and equipment.

Mr. Hooley

Is my hon. Friend aware that this decision has also created disquiet in Sheffield? Does it represent a change of emphasis away from preventive medicine in favour of a sickness service rather than a health service?

Dr. Dunwoody

No. This decision certainly does not suggest a move away from preventive medicine. The whole National Health Service is concerned with preventive medicine. What it means is that we shall use radiographers and X-ray equipment far more effectively than we have been doing in the last year or so throughout our mass X-ray service. But there will be special areas and groups in the community for which some sort of mobile service will be required.