HC Deb 27 April 1981 vol 3 cc358-9W
Mr. Dewar

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what provision is made for nursing mothers in the Scottish prison system; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Rifkind

Every seven-room unit in Cornton Vale women's institution includes a mother and baby room. This is a double room which can take a cot, has facilities for heating baby food during the night and gives access to sanitary facilities at all times. Expectant mothers are taken to Stirling Royal infirmary for the births of their children and, if necessary, layettes are supplied at public expense. Articles like prams, cots, high chairs, bottle sterilisers and baths are provided by the institution. Additional clothing and toys may be gifted by family, friends, members of staff or friends of the institution.

At the institution, the health visitor and district nurse from the local group practice visit mothers and babies as they would any mother and baby in the community. Cornton Vale health centre nursing staff monitor babies' progress daily, checking feeding, health and weight. Babies are seen by the institution's doctor and a paediatrician as and when required and the mothers attend post-natal clines at Stirling Royal infirmary.

A mother returns to work in the institution when the doctor agrees she is fit to do so. She may take her baby to her place of work if she wishes and if practical. If not, she will return to her unit as necessary for feeding and changing. She also has the baby with her during normal visits from family and friends. At an appropriate stage of sentence, a mother will be able to take her baby out of the institution for escorted or unescorted walks. Mothercraft classes are held in the institution and, if requested, arrangements are made for christenings.

Every effort is made to give mother and baby all reasonable help and assistance and to make their relationship and situation as normal as possible.

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