WHILE American surgeons generally are more knife-happy, they perform one-seventh the D&Cs (dilatation and curettage) of gynaecologists in the UK.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists thinks the D&C rates here are far too high, particularly for women under 40. The college, which has just issued guidelines, believes the procedure should not be routine for women suffering menorrhagia (heavy periods). Other investigations give more accurate diagnoses, it says.