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Preston Hospital

Volume 929: debated on Tuesday 5 April 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether within the plans for Preston Hospital provision has been made for a social gynaecology unit.

Provision for the social aspect of gynaecology is included in the general provision for that specialty in the Preston district.

Does that mean that the Lancashire Area Health Authority is prepared to establish an abortion unit at the hospital? If not, how would my hon. Friend seek to advise it in this sphere? Secondly, will he say whether the consultations that the authority is having will include consultation with community organisations concerned with health matters?

The Select Committee on Abortion recommended that there could be separate abortion units, to be established on an experimental basis. We are considering this as a way to solve the particular problems in different parts of the country. But it should be borne in mind that many people share the view expressed by the Lane Committee that abortion should not be separated from other gynaecological services, for reasons of safety. I certainly hope that the authority will consult community groups on its plans in my hon. Friend's part of Lancashire. My right hon. Friend and I are very anxious to promote the position of community health councils, and I hope that the consultation can be channelled through them in order to bring about the best results.