§ 44. Sir David Renton
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what progress has been made in the provision of family planning services as required by Section 4 of the National Health Service Reorganisation Act 1973.
§ Mr. Moyle
A free family planning clinic service within the National Health Service in England and Wales was introduced on 1st April 1974. During 1975 about 1,860 health authority clinics provided, through nearly 200,000 sessions, a family planning service to 1.5 million people. These numbers include the Family Planning Association's agency clinics, whose take-over by health authorities was completed on 30th September this year. A further 21,000 people were seen as part of the domiciliary family planning service. From July 1975 a free service has also been available for women through family doctors. At 1st July 1976 2.35 million women in England and Wales were registered for family planning with 20,600 doctors, one-third of whom have undertaken to provide family planning services only to patients for whom they provide other general medical services, and the remainder to any woman. This amounts to over 90 per cent. of all principals providing general medical services in the NHS.
In July 1975 agreement was also reached with the medical profession on the terms under which free family planning services, including operations for both male and female sterilisation, were to be provided in NHS hospitals. Because of restraints on resources not all area health authorities have yet been able to implement the agreement.