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Volume 463: debated on Tuesday 29 March 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many women received analgesia in childbirth in their own homes in the city and county of Aberdeenshire, respectively, in the years 1947 and 1948, who were attended by midwives only.

No apparatus was available in Aberdeen City in either of these two years. Four sets were available in the county towards the end of 1948 and 12 women received analgesia when attended by midwives alone in their own homes.

Could the right hon. Gentleman give the percentage for the county, compared with the total births at home during these years?

They were very small because this only became available at the tail end of 1948 and, of course, the births were taking place throughout the year.

Is not this a disgracefully low average; and might I ask the right hon. Gentleman what orders he has issued to the local health authorities on this matter, and under what section of what Act he has issued those orders?

If the hon. Gentleman knew Scottish health authorities, he would know that issuing orders was not the way to get their co-operation. A second point is that Aberdeen refrained from purchasing this apparatus in the belief that a more efficient or a more economical apparatus was coming along shortly—and that is quite a good Aberdeen reason.

Will my right hon. Friend assure the House that the standards set under the Scottish Midwifery Act, which are very much higher than those in England, will be adhered to; that the mothers of Scotland will not have any class distinction; and that services suitable for hon. Members opposite and their wives shall not be lowered for the women of Scotland?

Will the Secretary of State tell the House whether, in fact, he has power to impose a duty upon local health authorities in Scotland?

Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the question whether he has power to impose a duty on a local authority?

The original Question only asked how many women received analgesia. It said nothing about powers.