HC Deb 06 December 1973 vol 865 cc1430-1
7. Mr. Tinn

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is satisfied with the present numbers of forensic pathologists ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Carlisle

The present numbers are generally sufficient to meet current demands. The future needs of the forensic pathology service are being considered in the light of the recommendations of the Broderick Committee.

Mr. Tinn

I am glad to note that this is being considered. Does not the hon. and learned Gentleman agree that the forensic pathology service has to some extent been the poor relation of universities on the one hand and the National Health Service on the other? May I draw his attention to the survey of more than 25,000 autopsies performed at the London Hospital over a period of five years, which shows more than 5,000 cases of unnatural death, of which 263 were not shown to have died an unnatural death in the coroner's officer's report—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Member is getting very near a statement.

Mr. Carlisle

We believe that the present number of forensic pathologists is sufficient for current needs. I realise that there are problems about future recruitment, but at the moment outside London and the Home Counties 28 pathologists are nominated by the Home Secretary to assist police forces and inside the Home Counties and London the teaching hospitals are used.