HC Deb 02 November 1994 vol 248 c1225W
Ms Primarolo

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if general practitioner fundholders can use their funds to purchase abortions for their patients.

Mr. Malone

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has recently announced that the fundholding scheme will be expanded from April 1996. Details are set out in an executive letter of 20 October 1994, a copy of which has been laid in the Library. In brief, there will be three new options: community fundholding, for those practices with a minimum list size of £3,000 patients; standard fundholding, an enlarged version of the current scheme, for which the list size requirement will be reduced to £5,000 patients; and total purchasing, where larger groups of practices will pilot the purchasing of all hospital and community health services. As part of this expansion, terminations of pregnancy will be included within standard fundholding from April 1996. Guidance will make it clear that, where a general practitioner has ethical objections to purchasing terminations of pregnancy, arrangements will be made for patients to have access to these services either through another GP fundholder or through services purchased by the district health authority.

Mr. Peter Bottomley

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many abortions were linked to rubella last year and 10 years ago.

Mr. Sackville

In 1982 in England and Wales there were 226 legal abortions associated with rubella, compared with only 12 in 1992—a reduction of 95 per cent.

Mr. Alton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information she has on the risk of developing breast cancer for women who have had abortions; and what assessment her Department has made of Canadian research on the links between abortion and breast cancer.

Mr. Sackville

We have no information on such risks. We await the full findings of the Canadian research with interest.

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