Cancer Screening

Oral Answers to Questions — House of Commons – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23rd May 1988.

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Photo of Mr Jeff Rooker Mr Jeff Rooker , Birmingham, Perry Barr 12:00 am, 23rd May 1988

To ask the Lord President of the Council when he expects a cancer screening programme to begin for females working in the Palace of Westminster.

Photo of Mr John Wakeham Mr John Wakeham , Colchester South and Maldon

The House of Commons Commission has recently accepted in principle the recommendation of the Services Committee that on-site cancer screening should be provided for all women working in the House, and has made appropriate budgetary provision for this purpose. I hope that it will be possible to provide the service in the autumn.

Photo of Mr Jeff Rooker Mr Jeff Rooker , Birmingham, Perry Barr

Many of the women who have asked for this matter to be dealt with will be truly grateful for that reply. So that there is no misunderstanding outside, will the right hon. Gentleman say whether he is aware of the take-up on the pilot programme in the other place, and can he confirm that treatment was required as a result of that programme?

Photo of Mr John Wakeham Mr John Wakeham , Colchester South and Maldon

Yes. I cannot give exact figures for the take-up, but I know that it was high. The percentage of those who had to be referred to doctors for further investigation and treatment was also high. I think that that was part of the reason for the Services Committee recommending that this service should be brought into the House of Commons.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Dickens Mr Geoffrey Dickens , Littleborough and Saddleworth

Is the Lord President of the Council aware that the facilities for women Members are quite disgraceful? Would he be surprised to learn that it is within my knowledge, though certainly not within my sight, that one lady Member has to surreptitiously——

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Order. This question is about cancer screening. Was that within the hon. Gentleman's sight?

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Dickens Mr Geoffrey Dickens , Littleborough and Saddleworth

Added to the lack of these facilities are other facilities for women——

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

Order. I repeat that this question is about cancer screening.

Photo of Frank Dobson Frank Dobson Chair, House of Commons (Services): Computer Sub-Committee, Shadow Leader of the House of Commons

I take this opportunity to thank the Lord President for his contribution towards getting this cancer screening programme going. I also pay tribute to the efforts of my right hon. Friend the Member for Salford, East (Mr. Orme) and my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Ms. Walley). Can the Lord President confirm that arrangements will be made to ensure that testing done here is properly logged, and that the women concerned are taken on board by their local call and recall schemes?

Photo of Mr John Wakeham Mr John Wakeham , Colchester South and Maldon

The exact details of how the facility will be organised are matters for negotiation with the women's national cancer control campaign, which is likely to provide the service, together with the local health authorities. In answer to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker), 78 women took advantage of the programme in the other place, and the tests of 19 showed that they had problems, so they were referred for further examination. I am grateful for what the hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras (Mr. Dobson) said and I echo the thanks to the right hon. Member for Salford, East (Mr. Orme), who chaired the Sub-Committee that considered this matter, and to all those who supported it.

Photo of Mr Michael Shersby Mr Michael Shersby , Uxbridge

What is the cost to public funds of providing these additional facilities?

Photo of Mr John Wakeham Mr John Wakeham , Colchester South and Maldon

I cannot say exactly at this stage, and we shall not know for sure until the scheme has been worked out, but the budgetary provision is £10,000.