Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that this is an annual Question from me and that the reply is nearly always the same and that in the meantime the situation, at any rate in North Middlesex, is so serious that mothers are now being sent out of hospital 24 hours after the baby is born? Does he not realise that this battery system of producing babies is most inhuman and is unfair both to the staffs and the mothers concerned? When will he provide enough beds to make it possible for mothers to have a reasonable stay in hospital in proper conditions?
No specific increase in the birth-rate in the Metropolitan regions in the next few years is expected, although, of course, the effect of migration cannot be fully assessed. Nevertheless, some 5,000 extra confinements could be provided for by the starts to which I have just referred. The hon. Lady will know that the Cranbrook Report on maternity services advised that 70 per cent. of confinements should take place in hospital. Throughout the Greater London Area we are doing very much better than that. Another figure which will interest the hon. Lady is that 90 per cent. of the mothers of first children are delivered of their children in hospitals n the Greater London area compared with about 85 per cent. elsewhere.