HC Deb 21 May 1957 vol 570 c1007
5. Mrs. Mann

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps he takes when infant mortality rates take a swift leap upwards in any given quarter to inquire into the reason thereof, with a view to avoiding a recurrence of the high death rate.

Mr. Maclay

All medical officers of health receive information about the causes of infant deaths and investigate immediately any special or unusual circumstances arising in their area. The trends in the infant mortality rates are carefully watched in my Department but it is rarely possible to draw valid conclusions from short-term changes in the rate for a particular area.

Mrs. Mann

Will the right hon. Gentleman say what caused the infant mortality rate in Coatbridge to leap up to 51 per thousand in the last quarter of 1956?

Mr. Maclay

I cannot give a specific answer to that question. As I said, it is extremely difficult to draw conclusions from figures taken over only a very short period; but the medical officers of health examine these matters very carefully and, if any conclusions are to be drawn, they will be.

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