HC Deb 12 May 1992 vol 207 cc486-7
9. Mr. Quentin Davies

To ask the Secretary of State for Health to what extent family doctors are improving health promotion.

Dr. Mawhinney

Significant progress has been made since the introduction of the GPs' new contract. In particular, there are now more GPs holding health promotion clinics, immunisation uptake is rising and more women are being screened for cervical cancer.

Mr. Davies

Do not the new targets in the GPs' contract relating to child immunisation, regular health checks, cervical cytology, mammography and other diagnostic procedures represent a revolutionary advance in the practice of preventive health care?

Dr. Mawhinney

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. This is a new, innovative and very important development in the preventive work of general practitioners. In the context of prevention and health promotion, I am sure that my hon. Friend and the rest of the House will be pleased to know that in 1990, for the first time in the United Kingdom, no child died from acute measles.

Mr. George Howarth

Has the Minister any proposals to involve GPs in trying preventive measures to stop the spread of anorexia nervosa—which is very worrying, especially in view of its effect on young women? The problem needs to be tackled and it seems to me that GPs are the obvious starting point.

Dr. Mawhinney

I share the hon. Gentleman's concern about the disease, which is indeed very worrying and, as he knows, can sometimes be fatal. I am sure that he is right to point out that the initial contact between patient and general practitioner is significant—it may even be crucial in some cases—and I will bear his comments in mind.

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