HC Deb 29 June 1976 vol 914 cc185-6
14. Mr. Ronald Atkins

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are the latest figures to show the incidence of gonorrhoea in the United Kingdom; and how they compare with those of 10 years ago.

Dr. Owen

My Department collects figures of the numbers of new cases of gonorrhoea treated at clinics in England, and in 1974 this was 58,071. This compares with 36,775 in 1964.

Mr. Atkins

Is not the incidence of this disease serious? Is the Minister satisfied that enough publicity is given to it and, indeed that enough education on this subject is given in schools? Will he make representations about this to his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science?

Dr. Owen

I am concerned about the growth which represents a rise of 60 per cent. over a 10-year period. However, the bulk of this rise occurred in the period up to 1969. In the last four years the increase has been less than 4 per cent. The Health Education Council spent £25,845 in 1974 on publicity and training schemes concerning the control of sexually-transmitted diseases. I shall consider whether it would be helpful to discuss the situation with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science.

Mr. Stokes

Will the Minister take a careful look at the activities of the so-called Family Planning Association which many people believe is responsible for the increase in both promiscuity and venereal disease?

Dr. Owen

I believe—I think that this is a view thtat is shared on both sides of the House—that the Family Planning Association has a remarkable record of championing social progress. On a largely all-party basis, it has allowed the introduction of a comprehensive family planning service within the National Health Service. It has collaborated in the transfer of many of its responsibilities to the National Health Service and still has an important role in both sex education and family planning education. I strongly support its independence and its integrity.