HC Deb 16 February 1944 vol 397 cc174-5
44. Major Markham

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that the senior medical officer of his Ministry gave evidence before the Barlow Commission in November, 1938, to the effect that an infant mortality rate of 29 was so far unattainable in this country; that since that date infant mortality rates as low as this have been achieved in Iceland, New Zealand, New York, Chicago and several other places; and whether it is still the official view of his Ministry that a rate of 29 is unattainable in this country.

Miss Horsbruģh

No, Sir. A reference was made in the proceedings before the Barlow Commission to the fact that lower rates had been secured in some other countries than had yet been attained here, but the officer referred to said that it might reasonably be anticipated that these lower rates might in time be reached here, a view from which my right hon. Friend does not see any reason to dissent.

Major Markham

Is not the Ministry now of the opinion that these rates can be reached very quickly indeed if they follow the example of Chicago and New York in dealing with the infantile mortality problem?

Miss Horsbruģh

That is quite a different question from that on the Order Paper.

Mr. Rhys Davies

Does the hon. Lady accept the figure of 29; and has that figure been reached in Iceland, New Zealand and other places?

Miss Horsbruģh

I have not the figure of 29 for that particular date. Certainly in Holland, at the date of the Commission, the figure of 31 was reached.