HC Deb 02 May 1995 vol 259 cc184-5W
Dr. Godman

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if all of the recommendations contained in the report of the committee of inquiry into the maladministration of the cervical smear programme at the Inverclyde Royal hospital, Greenock, have been implemented; and if he will make a statement. [21615]

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

The report of the inquiry into Cytopathology at Inverclyde Royal hospital recommended action by Argyll and Clyde health board local management and the Scottish Office Home and Health Department.

I am advised that all of the recommendations which applied to local management have been implemented by Argyll and Clyde health board.

The Common Services Agency, which has responsibility for the national breast screening co-ordinating unit, was instructed to develop and maintain quality assurance, performance monitoring and evaluation of the cervical screening programme. The unit continues to develop appropriate standards. A key appointment in this new structure is a national co-ordinator for both breast and cervical screening programmes. On the first advertisement, no suitable candidate was found and an interim co-ordinator was appointed. The permanent post will be re-advertised shortly.

A working group to formulate the policy for implementation of internal quality control in all laboratories carrying out cervical cytopathology was set up in February 1994 under the chairmanship of one of the Department's medical officers, and comprises members from the Royal College of Pathologists, the British Society of Clinical Cytology, the Institute of Biomedical Science and representatives from each of the three other UK Departments of Health. The working group has now submitted its report to the four territorial chief medical officers.

Other recommendations which have been implemented or are in the course of implementation are as follows: In March 1994, a promotional leaflet encouraging women to attend for screening was distributed to all GPs and clinics. In August 1994, booklets and videos on the current best practice in taking cervical smears produced by the British Society for Clinical Cytology were distributed to all GPs, practice nurses and other health professionals. In March 1995, guidelines on failsafe actions for the follow-up of women with abnormal cervical smear histories were distributed to health boards, NHS trusts, GPs, practice nurses and laboratories providing a cervical cytology service. By June 1995, revised guidance should be issued to health boards on purchasing, management and organisation of the cervical cytology service including staffing and appropriate levels of training.

I am copying this answer to the hon. Member for Renfrew, West and Inverclyde (Mr. Graham) for information.