HC Deb 19 March 1935 vol 299 cc1012-3W
Sir W. RAY

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that prolonged experiments have been carried out in many voluntary maternity hospitals, and in certain London County Council hospitals, and at the Wellhouse Hospital, Barnet (a Herts County Council hospital), with a view to finding some safe and satisfactory method of relieving the pain of childbirth; and whether, considering the successful results of these experiments, he will recommend all public assistance maternity hospitals throughout the country to make use of some form of anaesthesia for their patients, and to undertake further research work of a like nature?


I have noted with interest the experiments referred to in the first part of the question. As regards the second part, I am advised that medical opinion is not unanimous as to the safety and desirability of administering anaesthetics in all cases of childbirth, and I should not be justified in making a general recommendation as to the adoption of particular clinical and therapeutic methods, which must remain within the discretion of the medical officers responsible for the care of their patients. I have no doubt that the medical officers of hospitals provided by local authorities are, in common with the medical profession generally, fully alive to the importance of continued investigation of this subject, and the visits of my medical officers to these hospitals afford opportunities of discussing the arrangements for inducing anaesthesia in suitable cases.