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Hospitals (Baby Cots)

Volume 466: debated on Thursday 7 July 1949

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asked the Minister of Health what instructions he has given to hospitals regarding the maximum space between the bars of baby cots.

I am sending the hon. Member a copy of the circular issued to hospitals on this subject.

I have seen it, and I was wondering whether it had occurred to the right hon. Gentleman that the hospital authorities, regional and local boards, to say nothing of the matrons and others, are quite capable of ordering baby cots without being instructed by the Minister's circular.

The hon. and gallant Member is quite wrong in his supplementary question. It was found that a baby had died as a consequence of the distance between the bars of the cot being too wide. As soon as we heard of that we immediately made a recommendation as to the kind of cots which should be used in order to prevent a recurrence of that tragedy, and I am really astonished that an attempt should be made to cover with ridicule a piece of proper administration.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the circular suggested that where the space between the bars was wider than the measurements mentioned, netting should be used, and does he realise the danger to the baby which might be caused by its sucking the netting?

All these matters were taken into account. My technical advisers at the Ministry are probably more competent than the hon. and gallant Member to determine such questions.

Can we take it that my right hon. Friend has also circulated this most helpful advice and guidance to the private manufacturers of these cots?

It obviously follows that as soon as we decided to standardise the kind of cot we are to use in hospitals and maternity homes, the manufacturers of the cots will be notified immediately.