HC Deb 04 December 1973 vol 865 c1065
4. Mr. Dormand

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects to receive the report of the Joint Working Group on Breast Cancer Screening.

The Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Security (Mr. Michael Alison)

I cannot yet say ; but it is likely to be several years before sufficient information is available from the pilot screening projects to enable the working group to makes its final report.

Mr. Dormand

Whatever the recommendations in the report, will the Under-Secretary give two assurances : first, that screening will be made more readily available than it is now, and, secondly, that there will be no penny-pinching in any new arrangements made following publication of the report? Does the hon. Gentleman agree that there is at present insufficient emphasis on preventive measures in medicine?

Mr. Alison

I should need to weigh the hon. Gentleman's request most carefully. There will not be any penny-pinching, as he puts it, if we can be certain that the money spent is cost-effective for women. But whilst an element of doubt remains about this matter the scale of national expenditure, in terms both of equipment and of the scarce medical manpower involved on a large-scale programme, would be prohibitive unless it were to do undisputable good.