HC Deb 16 July 2002 vol 389 c208W
Ms Walley

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what targets have been set for the reduction of(a) premature births, (b) stillbirths and (c) miscarriages. [67074]

Jacqui Smith

Although specific reduction targets have not been set, we are continuing to support the work of the confidential inquiry into stillbirths and deaths in infancy to improve care during pregnancy and provide the right quality and level of support. The difficulties of premature birth and the tragedy of losing a child through stillbirth and miscarriage have some associations with, and are always compounded by, poverty and social exclusion. We are addressing this through the 'Sure Start' initiative, including pilot programmes to provide personal co-ordinated support for pregnant teenagers, and parents under the age of 18. We are also investing more in the provision of maternity care and seeking to ensure the most effective configuration of these essential services.