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Phenylketonuria

Volume 655: debated on Monday 12 March 1962

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13.

asked the Minister of Health how many local medical committees are having a diagnostic test for phenylketonuria performed on all children born in their administrative areas.

I assume my hon. Friend refers to local health authorities. Over 100 carry out extensive tests, many aiming at complete coverage.

Is it not a fact that this test is a very simple one, and that if it were carried out by all local health authorities it would probably result in preventing about 40 babies born every year from becoming mentally defective? Will my hon. Friend consider the possibility of publishing a list of local health authorities which do not carry out such a test so that pressure may be put upon them to carry it out?

It is estimated that there might be 20 to 40 new cases in a year. But the number of local authorities providing this service is steadily growing. Now 108 out of a potential of just over 140 local authorities carry it out. I believe that it is extending. I should like to see the coverage progressively extended.

Can the hon. Lady say what progress has been made in the hospital field in this matter? Has she any figures about the number of hospital management committees, for example, which carry out this test as a routine matter?

No, not without notice. However, if the hon. Gentleman tables a Question, I will obtain the information for him.