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Perinatal Care

Volume 959: debated on Monday 4 December 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will bring forward measures to improve the standard of perinatal care in Northern Ireland, in view of the criticisms in the article"Neonatal Death in Northern Ireland"published in the British Medical Journal on 7th October 1978; and if he will make a statement.

Measures are continuously being taken to improve the standard of perinatal care in Northern Ireland, and the rate of perinatal mortality fell between 1975 and 1977 from 25 to 21 per 1,000 births. However, the Government remain extremely concerned about the unacceptably high sates of perinatal and infant mortality, and last month my noble Friend the Minister of State announced the appointment of an expert committee on this subject. The committee has been asked to consider the whole range of preventive and caring services in the field of infant mortality and handicap and to make recommendations for improvements. The committee will carry out its task as quickly as possible and will make interim reports as appropriate so as to enable early corrective action to be taken.