HC Deb 23 July 1924 vol 176 cc1326-8W

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that the number of persons in receipt of out-relief, other than on account of unemployment on the 1st January, 1922, and on the 1st January, 1923, was the highest. (in proportion to population) in Poplar and the lowest in Kensington of all the London unions; that the number in receipt of out-relief on account; of unemployment at those dates was also the highest in Poplar and nearly the lowest in Kensington; that the infant mortality for the years 1919–22 was 93 per 1,000 births in Kensington, while in Poplar it was only 82; that the infant mortality for 1923 was for Kensington 70, and for Poplar only 60; what sum was spent in 1923 on maternity and child welfare by the borough councils of Ken- sington and Poplar, respectively, and on necessitous infants and mothers and expectant mothers, by way of out-relief, by the guardians of the poor of Kensington and Poplar, respectively; and will he ask the Poor Law inspector of the Kensington Union to report to him what steps by means of out-relief the Kensington Guardians are taking, or will take, to assist to reduce the infant mortality in that union?


I am aware of the facts stated in the first part of the question. The expenditure on maternity and child welfare in 1923 cannot at present be stated, but the estimated expenditure for the financial year 1923–24 was: Kensington, £3,391, equivalent to 4.6d. per head of the population; Poplar, £11,821, equivalent to is. 5.4d. per head of the population. The expenditure by the guardians on necessitous infants, mothers and expectant mothers cannot be separately given. The available statistics do not support the suggested relation between the infantile mortality rate and the expenditure upon out-door relief or on maternity and child welfare, and I have no reason to suppose that the guardians of the Parish of Kensington are not dealing adequately with the applications made to them.


asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that the rate per annum of maternal mortality per 1,000 births was for 1919–21: Kensington 4.31, Poplar 2.90 and West Ham 2.03, and Kensington in 1921, 3.9, in 1922, 5, and in 1923, 5.8; whether he is aware that this high maternal mortality in Kensington almost wholly occurs among the poorer classes whether he will give the figures of maternal mortality in Poplar and West Ham for 1923; and whether his medical staff will investigate and inquire whether necessitous mothers and expectant mothers in Kensington receive sufficient assistance in midwifery and suitable food either from the guardians or the borough council?


The rates given in the first part of the question are the maternal mortality rates for the period 1919–22 not 1919–21. For Kensington and rate was 4.10 in 1921, 4.76 in 1922, and 4.81 in 1923; for Poplar and West Ham the rates in 1923 were 3.29 and 3.08, respectively. I am well aware of the high maternal mortality in Kensington, which no doubt occurs mainly among the poorer classes, and the borough council have recently taken steps to improve and extend the midwifery facilities in the borough. The council have, for some time past, made arrangements for the supply of meals and milk to expectant and nursing mothers in necessitous cases.