§ 44. Mr. Pavitt
asked the Minister of Health how many maternal deaths occurred in the years 1958–60; in how many of these were found contributory factors which could be regarded as avoidable; and how many were ascribed to unwise arrangements for the confinement.
§ Mr. Pavitt
While not wishing to get these very grave figures out of perspective, may I ask the hon. Gentleman whether he will issue an instruction that all house officers dealing with confinements shall have no option but to call a senior consultant in the event of complications, and will he remind general practitioners of the criteria to be established before booking any mother-to-be for home confinement?
§ Mr. Braine
I would not seek in any way to minimise the seriousness of these figures, though I am happy to say that the maternal mortality rate has continued to fall. I take note of what the hon. Gentleman says. Perhaps I should add that we have no evidence that where 949 the avoidable factor was failure to book for a hospital confinement it was in any case due to a shortage of maternity beds.
§ Mr. Speaker
I thought that the hon. Gentleman was rising in the ordinary course to put a supplementary question, and I called him accordingly.