HC Deb 17 May 1993 vol 225 c28W
Mr. Cann

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what contribution the United Kingdom Government have made towards achieving the World Health Organisation target of halving the maternal mortality rates in the world by 2000; and if she will list the actions taken by her Department in furtherance of the Government's commitment to safe motherhood given in September 1989.

Mr. Sackville

The Government support the World Health Organisation's "Health for All" targets, including those for maternal and child health.

Efforts to reduce maternal mortality in England and Wales have met with considerable success during the past 37 years, over which period the rate has fallen from 100 to 5.6 per 100,000 total births. This success is a tribute to the long-standing co-operation between the professionals involved in maternity care.

The Government are determined to build on the established excellence of national health service maternity care. An expert maternity group is currently reviewing policy on NHS maternity care, particularly during childbirth. The group's report, to be published in the summer, will be an important aid in clarifying how and where further improvements can be made. For the past four years, maternity services have featured in the NHS chief executive's annual priorities and planning guidance to health authorities. Authorities have been asked to undertake general reviews of their maternity services and to pay particular attention to specific issues such as improving access to maternity services for certain groups of women, for example, those from black and ethnic minority communities, and to arrangements for consultant cover of labour wards.

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