HC Deb 11 April 1972 vol 834 cc1011-2
10. Sir D. Renton

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he has yet completed his review of family planning services; what further improvements he proposes to introduce; and whether he will make a statement.

Sir K. Joseph

No, Sir. I shall make a statement when my review is complete.

Sir D. Renton

In further considering this matter, would my right hon. Friend bear in mind that this year important bodies of medical opinion have recommended that there should be a fully comprehensive family planning service within the Health Service Will he say now, if he can, whether he accepts the recommendations of the Todd Committee on medical education?

Sir K. Joseph

I assure my right hon. and learned Friend that the Government will be taking into account in their review the veritable avalanche of advice about this subject, descending upon Ministers from all sorts of highly reputable bodies, including the recommendations of the Todd Committee.

Dr. Stuttaford

Is my right hon. Friend aware that a recent survey shows that even in those areas traditionally thought to be opposed to family planning over 65 per cent. of Conservative voters favour the prescription of the pill under the National Health Service?

Sir K. Joseph

I do not wish to be incautious, but I am not conscious of any grave political constraint upon the expansion of Government activity in this matter, provided that it can be addressed to those areas where it is most needed.

Mrs. Castle

Will not the right hon. Gentleman accept that this is a very urgent matter and that, therefore, his review should be treated with high priority so that the House can have an early discussion on this matter, which is of not only national but global importance?

Sir K. Joseph

By her last words, the right hon. Lady has prevented me from giving a brief, "Yes, Sir", in reply to a supplementary question. I remind the House that I am not responsible for population policy and that such questions are for my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister—[Laughter.] I am simply responsible for the health and social services aspects of this question.