Maternity Services

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Health – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th April 1964.

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Photo of Miss Joan Quennell Miss Joan Quennell , Petersfield 12:00 am, 27th April 1964

asked the Minister of Health what action he is taking to promote the greater use of the existing maternity services by expectant mothers.

Photo of Mr Anthony Barber Mr Anthony Barber , Doncaster

Advice on the importance of making full use of these services has been widely circulated and is regularly emphasised in health education material put out by the Ministry.

Photo of Miss Joan Quennell Miss Joan Quennell , Petersfield

Surely this does not make a very great impact. Does not my right hon. Friend realise that in our figures for infant mortality we lag behind the progress being made in some other countries? For example, if we had the same proportionate figures as Sweden 4,000 lives would have been saved last year. Will not my right hon. Friend, therefore, give extra emphasis to what is being done so that existing services can be more widely known and more fully used?

Photo of Mr Anthony Barber Mr Anthony Barber , Doncaster

As I expect my hon. Friend knows, doctors in hospitals, G.P.s, midwives and health visitors all play their part in encouraging expectant mothers to take advantage of the services which are freely available to them. Of course, they can only encourage; they cannot compel. For example, there is the leaflet entitled "Maternity Care", a copy of which is sent to each expectant mother with the book of tokens for welfare milk. If there is anything more we can do, I will be happy to do it.