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Infant Mortality

Volume 957: debated on Thursday 9 November 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he will publish a table showing infant mortality for all EEC countries; and how the relative position of the United Kingdom compares with her relative position to the same countries in the last year before the National Health Service was established.

The numbers of deaths of children under one year of age per 1,000 live births are as follows: is necessary. That is why a new standard system is being developed. The absence of a standard system would simply mean that existing local systems, and new local systems as they develop, would not enjoy the economic and other advantages that a standard system can bring. The standard system is being developed by the child health computing committee which is composed mainly of doctors, nurses and other representatives of the NHS together with some representatives of my Department. Their recommendations will be made to my Department in due course, and subject to their acceptability my Department will commend them to health authorities.The use of computers offers considerable advantages over keeping records in manual systems. An important advantage is that it is easier to ensure that parents are invited to bring their children to the doctor for periodic screening examinations. This means that important preventive services will be used to the fullest possible extent, which is vital to the health of children generally and especially of those in greatest need. Much of the administrative work involved is of a routine nature which a computer can handle accurately, quickly and cheaply: this can be of great benefit to better child health.