HC Deb 06 April 1971 vol 815 c233
16. Mrs. Renee Short

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many local authorities have organised in-service training for health visitors and domiciliary midwives in family planning methods; and how many hospitals give family planning advice to mothers at their post-natal examination or during the lying-in period.

Mr. Alison

The information is not held centrally.

Mrs. Short

That is a very disappointing reply. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman must be as concerned as are most responsible people about the number of unwanted and unplanned babies being born each year. Does he not think that, if he were to follow the suggestion advanced in my Question, midwives and health visitors could take a great deal of the responsibility for this work from doctors, provided that they were suitably trained, and does he not consider that it is a gross neglect of his duty not to ensure that hospitals carry out this work at a time when mothers are most receptive to this kind of information? Will he now act upon that suggestion?

Mr. Alison

The hon. Lady knows that hospitals do give advice in these cases. We are planning to issue further guidance to hospitals on the development of their family planning services. We give a good deal of money, either through local authority grants or through help to the Family Planning Association, to encourage training in family planning techniques.