HC Deb 29 January 1981 vol 997 cc509-10W
Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what estimate has been made, taking account of the economic situation and increasing unemployment, of the likely perinatal mortality rate in the next two years; and what steps are being taken to reduce it.

Mr. Vaughan

The relationship of perinatal mortality to the economic situation and to unemployment is not sufficiently known for estimates of their effect to be calculated. In spite of economic difficulties and rising unemployment the perinatal mortality rate has declined throughout the past decade, and indeed since 1975 has declined more rapidly than at any time since it was first recorded. Cmnd. 8084 emphasises the priority which the Government attach to a sustained campaign to achieve further reductions. The Department has now issued health circular (80)13 to health authorities and has written to professional bodies about those recommendations in the Social Services Committee's report on perinatal and neonatal mortality which it falls to them to consider.