To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will give a breakdown by district health authority of (a) the total number of births and (b) the total number of directly national health service employed midwives, excluding agency and student midwives, in each of the last six years for which figures are available;
(2) if he will give a breakdown by district health authority of the average numbers of births per directly employed national health service midwife, excluding agency and student midwives, in each of the last six years for which figures are available.
[holding answer 21 June 1990]: Details for 1988, the latest year available, are shown in the table and have been placed in the Library. Providing the information by district health authority for six years would incur disproportionate cost.Comparisons between different district health authorities need to be interpreted with caution, as they are not indicative of how well services are being provided. Health authorities will have regard to a number of different factors in setting staffing levels for their maternity services in addition to the expected number of births. These include the proportion of midwives to nurses, the size, number and layout of units and the pattern of community care, and the type of area.