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Cancer Screening

Volume 129: debated on Thursday 10 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list the health authorities which have adequate computer capacity for a call and recall scheme for all women in their district.

All family practitioner committees now have computers installed; the most recent installation was in February. A small number which have had computers in use for this purpose for some time require some augmentation, mainly to take account of the reduction in recommended age to 20.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services whether pathology laboratory capacity in each district health authority is sufficient to meet the demand from cervical cancer screening programmes; if he will list any authorities where the capacity is not sufficient; and if he will make a statement.

Our guidance to health authorities states that district health authorities must aim to ensure that laboratories can meet demand and avoid backlogs of cervical smears awaiting examination. The measure of pathology laboratory capacity is their ability to send the results of a smear test to the doctor who submitted it within one month. District health authorities which reported that they had been unable to achieve this target during January are listed as follows. Where laboratory backlogs do exist they are being tackled mainly by the recruitment and training of more staff, by the use of other laboratories and by overtime working.District health authorities reporting laboratory processing times of more than one month:

  • Gateshead
  • North West Durham
  • South West Durham
  • Durham
  • Leeds Western
  • Bradford Airedale
  • Wakefield
  • Leicestershire
  • Nottingham
  • Doncaster
  • Cambridge
  • Huntingdon
  • Norwich
  • North Hertfordshire
  • Hillingdon
  • South Bedfordshire
  • Southend
  • West Essex
  • Mid Essex
  • Brighton
  • Hastings
  • Maidstone
  • South East Kent
  • Chichester
  • Croydon
  • Merton and Sutton
  • South West Surrey
  • North West Surrey
  • East Dorset
  • Bath
  • Isle of Wight
  • Aylesbury Vale
  • Milton Keynes
  • Wycombe
  • Oxfordshire
  • Cheltenham
  • Plymouth
  • Southmead
  • Exeter
  • North Devon
  • Cornwall
  • Gloucester
  • North Staffs
  • South Warwickshire
  • Dudley
  • Walsall
  • Mid Staffs
  • Crewe
  • Warrington
  • Liverpool (part)
  • South Sefton (part)
  • Central Manchester

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will list the district health authorities which have a computerised call and recall scheme for cervical cancer screening.

All health authorities have been required to implement computerised call and recall systems for cervical cancer screening by 31 March. The majority have already done so and the remainder are in the final stages of preparation. We will publish a full list after the target date.