§ Mr. Nellist
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list those district health authorities who have(a) expanded and (b) contracted their provision of contraceptive services in each of the last three years.
§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
[holding answer 11 December 1989]: The information is not available in exactly the form requested.
The data collected cover the number of family planning clinic sessions, and attendances at family planning clinics.171W
The latest available figures are for 1987–88. The districts listed, copies of which have been placed in the Library, are those where:
- (1) both the number of attendances and the number of sessions held increased over the period 1984 to 1987–88. (14 districts)
- (2) both the number of attendances and the number of sessions decreased over the same period. (110 districts)
- (3) the number of attendances decreased while the number of sessions increased. (58 districts)
- (4) the number of attendances increased while the number of sessions decreased. (9 districts)
The number of sessions offered by family planning clinics may be reduced as part of a rationalisation of services by health authorities to make more effective use of available resources. Some 97 per cent. of general practitioners provide planning services and about 65 per cent. of the women using family planning services prefer to see a general practitioner.
Government policy remains that people should be free to choose their source of family planning advice and that health authority contraceptive services complement, rather than duplicate, those which general practitioners provide. This is reflected in current guidance issued to health authorities by the Department.