HC Deb 03 February 1984 vol 53 cc399-400W
Mrs. Renée Short

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will provide additional resources to ensure a reduction of perinatal mortality rates.

Mr. John Patten

In the four years 1978–1982 there was a marked fall in perinatal mortality rates, and provisional data for the first three-quarters of 1983 suggests that this encouraging trend is continuing. We expect health authorities to do what they can to secure further reductions by improving their maternity and neonatal services. We expect them to do this from within their normal allocations, which have grown and are planned to grow significantly in real terms. The importance of health authorities reviewing critically the organisation and use made of their maternity services—to ensure available resources are used as effectively as possible — is underlined in the second report of the maternity services advisory committee, which was published on 26 January. The report, specifically on care during childbirth, gives advice on good practice and includes action checklists for authorities and all those concerned with maternity services. Copies of the report are available in the Library.