asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if she has now completed her review of how many area health authorities have established vasectomy clinics for the provision of vasectomies under the National Health Service; and how many have not.
Not yet, Sir, but a preliminary assessment indicates that 38 area health authorities have vasectomy clinics. Those without have facilities for vasectomy in general surgery and other units in hospitals.
Will my hon. Friend undertake that this review will be carried out as quickly as possible, because the figures he has given suggest that some area health authorities are not yet honouring either the letter or the spirit of the 1972 legislation?
I shall let my hon. Friend know as soon as I can. These figures are only provisional, being based on oral inquiries. We have still to receive many of the returns for which we asked. As soon as they are available I shall let my hon. Friend have the breakdown.
What facilities are available for advising a patient who wishes to have a vasectomy about the serious nature of the operation and the alternative to having it?
Vasectomy would not be undertaken by other than a qualified medical practitioner. It would be up to him to make clear to the patient all the different factors behind making a decision.