§ Mr. Nicholas Bennett
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is the average time taken by each Welsh health authority to process cervical smear tests and provide the results for the patient and her general practitioner; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Grist
Information about the average time taken to provide results of cervical smear tests in 1987 is as follows. In November 1987, a further £400,000 was allocated to district health authorities to help improve the cervical screening service. I hope that this additional funding will contribute to a reduction in waiting times in those districts where women had to wail more than the recommended maximum of eight weeks in 1987.
Days Clwyd 1–35 East Dyfed 16–88 Gwent 35 Gwynedd 30 Mid Glamorgan 56 Pembrokeshire 112 Powys 19 South Glamorgan 21 West Glamorgan 56
Pembrokeshire was dependent on the laboratory at West Wales general hospital to process its cervical smear tests in 1987. The turnaround time at that laboratory increased significantly in 1987 due to staffing problems, although I understand that remedial action taken earlier this year should have eased the situation. Following Welsh Office funding, Pembrokeshire plans to establish its own laboratory service to evaluate cervical smear tests from 1 July. The authority has advised that this will substantially reduce the time taken to notify results.