HC Deb 27 May 1937 vol 324 cc417-8
29. Mr. J. Griffiths

asked the Minister of Health whether, having regard to the abnormally high maternal mortality rate in Wales, and more particularly in the rural areas, he is satisfied with the proposals submitted by the appropriate authorities in the Principality for the provision of midwifery service; and, if not, what steps he proposes to take to deal with the matter?

Sir K. Wood

The examination of the proposals submitted by the local supervising authorities in Wales under the Midwives Act, 1936, is not yet complete, but I am advised that in the case of the majority of the authorities their proposals may be considered generally adequate. In some cases further information is being awaited and in others particular points, varying in different areas, are the subject of communication with the local supervising authority concerned. If in any case I am advised that the proposals submitted are inadequate, I shall make the necessary representations to the authority concerned.

Viscountess Astor

Seeing how many of these maternal mortality cases are due to abortion, will the Minister see that there are proper birth control clinics to give advice to women in Wales?

33. Mr. Hepworth

asked the Minister of Health what action his Department proposes to take on the recommendations contained in the report on an investigation into maternal mortality?

Sir K. Wood

I have already taken action on the principal recommendations in this report. On 7th May, I addressed a circular to all the maternity and child welfare authorities in this country setting out the recommendations made for securing a complete and effective maternity service in each area, and requesting those authorities to take such steps as are necessary to extend and improve the services already available in their areas. I will send my hon. Friend a copy of the circular. I am in communication with the Medical Research Council on the questions recommended in the report for further research, and, as I informed the House last Monday, I have, in conjunction with my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, already appointed a committee to inquire into the prevalence of abortion and to consider what steps can be taken, by more effective enforcement of the law or otherwise, to secure the reduction of maternal mortality and morbidity arising from this cause.