HC Deb 10 December 1974 vol 883 cc219-20
8. Mrs. Joyce Butler

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what advice she has received from her special advisers on the early detection of breast cancer as to the viability of a screening programme for women at risk using the new diagnostic techniques which are now available; and if she will make a statement.

Dr. Owen

I have not yet received the report of the joint working group set up by the Standing Medical Advisory Committee to advise on screening for breast cancer. I have promised my hon. Friend that I will keep her informed of the conclusions we reach.

Mrs. Butler

Is it not unfortunate that the Department's special adviser should make such a pessimistic broadcast just at the time when my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is preparing a White Paper on preventive medicine? Will my hon. Friend give an assurance that the views of those who are pressing for more early diagnostic clinics with up-to-date techniques for all women at risk will equally be taken into account in the White Paper when it is published?

Dr. Owen

I can give my hon. Friend that assurance. We are hoping to produce a consultative document on all aspects of preventive medicine some time next year and we will be looking at this matter, but I hope to make a statement on the specific problem of breast screening rather earlier than that.