asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how much money is being spent in identifying and dealing with the causes of cerebral palsy and perinatal mortality; whether there has been any significant increase in expenditure over the last eight years; and how this expenditure compares with the amount spent in other countries about which information is available.
I am sorry that details of expenditure in these fields cannot be separately identified and comparison with other countries is not therefore possible.I understand from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science that the Medical Research Council is conducting a wide range of research in the fields such as mental handicap, disorders of the cerebrovascular system and inherited and congenital metabolic abnormalities, some of which will be relevant to cerebral palsy and other handicapping conditions in the newborn. Research in the neurological and psychiatric fields which has a relevance to the problem of cerebral palsy is included in the work on vulnerable periods in the developing brain at Manchester, studies at the council's development neurobiology unit at the Institute of Neurology in the university of London and the Institute of Psychiatry also in London, and at the regional neurological centre at Newcastle-upon-Tyne.Government funds also support other medical research in this field in universities and hospital medical schools.My own Department has identified perinatal mortality as a priority for research. Earlier this year funds were provided for the setting up of the national perinatal epidemiology unit at Oxford.The findings of the unit and that of other researchers currently supported by my Department should increase our understanding of the causation and the possible prevention of cerebral palsy and perinatal mortality.