Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th February 1992.

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Photo of Mr John Major Mr John Major , Huntingdon 12:00 am, 20th February 1992

I asked for a report on this tragic case this morning. As the hon. Gentleman has raised it, I reply assuming that he has received the permission of the family for it to be the subject of a public exchange. I am advised that doctors at the Queen Elizabeth II hospital have confirmed that Carley could not have been transferred when the hospital test results showed that she had meningitis and the test results were available within one hour of Carley's admission. Carley's decline, I am informed, was sudden and fast. Medical advice is that paediatric intensive care is unlikely to have arrested this.

The House may wish to know that between 1979 and 1990 the perinatal mortality rate for England and Wales dropped by 45 per cent. It is now at its lowest ever recorded level. As for national health service resources, the hon. Gentleman will know of the very large real-terms increases that have been made—in excess, in fact, of the real-terms increases promised by the Opposition at the last general election.