§ Mrs. Rumbold
Heads of all prison service headquarters divisions and directorates, including the director of prison medical services, were recently reminded of the importance of acknowledging and dealing expeditiously with letters from boards of visitors. I am assured by the medical director that she and senior members of her staff are mindful of the need to apply this principle to all communications from boards and that it is reflected in recently introduced administrative arrangements for dealing with such communications.
§ Mr. Alton
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what guidelines exist to govern the medical treatment of mothers with children and pregnant women in prison who are suffering from infectious diseases;
(2) if he will establish an inquiry independent of the prison medical services to establish guidelines for the medical treatment of mothers with children and pregnant women in prison who are suffering from infectious diseases.
§ Mrs. Rumbold
Prison medical officers are statutorily responsible for the health care of prisoners in their charge. As registered medical practitioners they enjoy clinical independence; and they have unfettered freedom to call upon such specialist advice as they consider necessary. The director of prison medical services has issued no guidance to medical officers relating specifically to the treatment of pregnant women or mothers and babies with infectious disease. This is one of the clinical areas to be considered in a review of hepatitis B policy which is being undertaken in consultation with the Department of Health.