HC Deb 04 February 1943 vol 386 cc1034-5
29. Dr. Summerskill

asked the Minister of Health what action is being taken to increase the hospital accommodation for maternity cases in London?

Mr. E. Brown

During 1942 the maternity beds in the L.C.C. hospitals were increased by approximately 220, bringing the total number of maternity beds in L.C.C. hospitals to approximately 627. During the same period the maternity beds in the voluntary hospitals in the County of London were increased by 165, bringing the total number of maternity beds in these hospitals to approximately 515. These are in addition to the 2,700 beds in emergency Maternity Homes in reception areas and the houses in the country to which many London homes have been removed. Both the L.C.C. and the voluntary hospitals hope to provide more maternity beds in the near future if staff can be found.

Dr. Summerskill

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, although there has been some small increase, the demand is much greater than the supply and that this grave shortage is causing concern to the medical personnel and much distress to expectant mothers?

Mr. Brown

We are doing everything we can to increase the accommodation.

Mr. Astor

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many expectant mothers are now being sent to country hospitals to have their babies and are not being given their fares back? Will he remedy that situation?

Mr. Brown

I have already considered the position.

Mr. Evelyn Walkden

What positive action is the right hon. Gentleman taking to provide the necessary staff for these maternity wards? Is he aware that hospitals in the County of London area cannot even get the staff to satisfy their needs and that some wards remain closed because of that problem?

Mr. Brown

The action is a continuing process.

Dr. Summerskill

Will the right hon. Gentleman remember that maternity is also a continuing process?