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Report on stillbirth and neonatal death rates published today

10 June 2015

Almost one in every 150 babies born in the UK is stillborn or dies soon after birth. A research team led from the University of Leicester has identified large differences across the UK in the numbers and rates of babies who die, even after taking account of known factors that influence the rate of death such as poverty, mother’s age and ethnicity.

The report published by MBRRACE-UK is made up of a team of academics, clinicians and other charity representatives (as part of the Maternal, Newborn and Infant Clinical Outcome Review Programme, of which Bliss is a member of the Independent Advisory Group), which has looked behind these figures to try and identify how the situation might be improved. The team has collected data for the 3,286 stillbirths and 1,436 deaths in the first 4 weeks after birth (neonatal deaths) of babies born at 24 weeks of gestation or more resulting from the 781,929 births in the UK and Crown Dependencies in 2013.

Bliss Chief Executive Caroline Davey said, “This report highlights a deeply concerning variation in newborn mortality rates across the country, and we strongly support its recommendation that areas with higher rates carry out detailed reviews to identify and implement improvements. The report also reinforces the importance of close links between maternity and neonatal services to ensure that sick babies receive the right level of care as quickly as possible.

“We must also remember that each death reported represents a tragic loss for the family, and redouble our efforts to ensure that appropriate bereavement care and support is offered to these families consistently across the UK”.

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