§ Mr. Nicholas Winterton
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if it is now the policy of his Department to provide obstetric beds in regional perinatal referral units for mothers when difficult births are anticipated ; and if he will make a statement ;
(2) how many fully equipped perinatal and neonatal regional referral units are in operation ; and if he will list the names and location of each hospital in which the referral units are situated and the number of cots, and obstetric beds used in conjunction with the unit in each hospital
(3) if it is the policy of his Department to recommend that when a sick newborn infant is transferred from a district general hospital to a regional neonatal intensive care unit, the mother should as soon as possible be moved to the adjacent maternit unit, thereby minimising separation of mother and infant; if maternity beds are kept available for this purpose; and if he will make a statement ;339W
(4) if it is the policy of the Department to recommend that women whose pregnancies are at a very high risk for perinatal death or damage be transferred before delivery to regional centres with full facilities for the intensive care of the mother, foetus and newborn infant: and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Moyle
Every combined special and intensive care unit for the newborn in England is associated with a specialist maternity department and beds are available in these maternity departments for mothers before and after delivery. The report of the expert group on special care for babies recommended strongly that mothers at risk of having a baby who will require intensive care should be delivered at a hospital providing such care, and that where a baby is transferred to a combined unit the mother should if she wishes receive her postnatal care in the same hospital to which the baby has been transferred. This second recommendation was also made in circular HC(78)28 "Children in Hospital: Maintenance of Family Links ". These arrangements will of course always be subject to the clinical judgment of the consultants concerned.
I am arranging to obtain the detailed information requested about combined special and intensive care units and will write to the hon. Member when it is available.