§ 1. Mr. Gareth Wardell
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what was the infant mortality rate in 1979 in (a) West Glamorgan and (b) Wales; and what are the corresponding figures for the latest available year.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Mark Robinson)
The infant mortality rate for West Glamorgan was 14.3 per thousand live births in 1979 and the corresponding rate for Wales was 12.4 per thousand live births. By 1984, the latest year for which this information is available, these rates had fallen to 6.1 and 8.8 respectively.
§ Mr. Wardell
Why is a new perinatal intensive care unit not recognised by the Secretary of State for Wales as a need for Wales, whereas it is accepted as a need for all the English regions? The perinatal mortality rate in Wales is higher than that in England. Therefore, why is the Secretary of State content that mothers of babies in Wales should have a worse deal than mothers in England?
§ Mr. Robinson
The pattern of existing maternity and neo-natal services is being given a detailed examination 2 under the perinatal mortality initiative announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, and we shall be considering the survey group's recommendations later in the year.
§ Mr. Gwilym Jones
The figures that my hon. Friend has given are encouraging. What is the status of the perinatal mortality initiative undertaken by the Welsh Office?
§ Mr. Robinson
Under the initiative, a catalyst team is compiling an up-to-date assessment of existing maternity and neonatal services, stimulating clinical reviews of perinatal deaths and encouraging health authorities to set up active maternity service liaison committees. In addition, the expert survey group appointed by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is preparing an, all-Wales perinatal mortality survey, and that will form part of the group's report to the Department this year.