HC Deb 05 June 1990 vol 173 cc593-4W
Mr Cohen

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what up-to-date information he has about the extent of delays in processing cervical smear tests; what steps he proposes to take to reduce delays; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

Information is not available in the form requested. Laboratories must aim to return the results of cervical smear tests to the doctor who undertook them within one month. Where this target is not met health authorities are required to take action to reduce delays. This has taken the form of overtime working or increasing the number of laboratory staff and making use of other less busy laboratory facilities either in the National Health Service or private sector. As at March 1990, the latest available date, over 80 per cent. of laboratories were meeting this one-month target. The average processing time of those districts which were failing to meet the target was 7.1 weeks.

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