HC Deb 24 July 1941 vol 373 cc1075-6W
Dr. Summerskill

asked the Minister of Health how many local authorities have arranged for the midwives in their employ to be given instruction in the use of gas and oxygen for painless childbirth; how many local authorities have supplied the apparatus for the giving of gas and oxygen by midwives at confinements; and how does this number compare with last year's returns?

Mr. E. Brown

According to the returns made to me by local supervising authorities up to 31st December, 1940, 49 of the 188 authorities concerned had made arrangements approved by the Central Midwives Board for instructing midwives in the administration of analgesics. Apparatus for administering analgesics was supplied by 33 authorities during 1940 as compared with 21 during 1939. Under special arrangements made by my Department with the National Birthday Trust, 43 machines have been supplied to emergency maternity homes in which the staffs are adequately trained in the administration of gas and oxygen.

Mr. Brooke

asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the increased number of married women taking up full-time employment in industry and transport, and in many cases working long hours, he intends any further measures for securing the health of them and their children in the months immediately before and after childbirth?

Mr. Brown

In addition to the provision made under the National Health Insurance Scheme a wide range of services for the benefit of expectant and nursing mothers and their young children are authorised under the Maternity and Child Welfare Schemes. In view of war-time needs the provision of day nurseries for the children of women in employment is being specially developed and it has been agreed that the approved expenditure of authorities on this provision will be repaid by the Ministry. Provision is also made in the National Milk Scheme for a supply of cheap or free milk for expectant and nursing mothers, and for children up to five years of age.