§ Ms. Walley
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the average waiting time nationally for the results of cervical cancer smear tests; and what is the average waiting time for women in north Staffordshire.
§ Mrs. Currie
I regret that this information is not held centrally in the form requested. According to Health Circular HC(88)1, published on 12 January, the target for laboratories is that they should aim to send the result of a cervical smear to the doctor who submitted it within a maximum of one month of receiving it. Health authorities in England reported that in December laboratories serving 56 out of 191 districts were not achieving this target. The average processing time for these 56 districts was seven weeks. Where backlogs do exist they are being tackled mainly by the recruitment arid training of more staff, by the use of other laboratories and by overtime working.
The average processing time in North Staffordshire districrt health authority in the same period was eight weeks.