Bliss and Tamba respond to latest statistics on neonatal mortality rates

Posted on March 14, 2018

Bliss and Tamba (Twins and Multiple Births Association) have spoken of our “extreme concern” that neonatal deaths have risen.

Bliss and Tamba (Twins and Multiple Births Association) have spoken of our “extreme concern” that neonatal deaths have risen.

The Office of National Statistics published its latest report on 14 March on childhood mortality [1] in England and Wales in 2016, noting neonatal deaths had increased to 2.7 per 1,000 live births (up from 2.6 per 1,000 in 2015). Infant mortality also increased to 3.8 deaths per 1,000 live births (up from 3.7 in every 1,000 in 2015). It also released statistics on twin deaths in multiple birth babies for 2015 – which found twins, triplets and more accounted for 14.4 per cent [2] of all neonatal deaths compared to 13.9% in 2014. This comes despite the fact multiple births only account for 3.2 per cent of births.

Bliss and Tamba are now calling for NHS England’s Neonatal Critical Care Transformation Programme Review, which was originally due out in September 2017, to be given urgent attention.

Caroline Lee-Davey, Chief Executive of the premature and sick baby charity Bliss, said: “It is deeply concerning to see a rise in infant mortality rates for the second year running. Recent research has highlighted there are significant variations in mortality rates across the country, meaning there is much more to do to ensure that all health services are giving vulnerable babies the best chance of survival [3].

“It is now more important than ever that NHS England publishes its Neonatal Critical Care Transformation Programme Review to ensure neonatal services are properly resourced in the future to improve outcomes for premature and sick babies. This is particularly urgent in light of the Secretary of State’s ambition to halve rates of neonatal death by 2025 [4].”

Tamba CEO Keith Reed said multiple birth families are continuing to get a raw deal when it comes to their children. He said: “Today’s figures make for disturbing reading. Combine this data with the delay in the Neonatal Critical Care Transformation Programme Review, which was due to be published in September 2017, and the situation is of extreme concern. There are many positive changes being made in maternity care across the country, which could be undermined by delays in identifying and introducing improvements in neonatal care.

“We have already shared evidence that suggests specific care pathways for multiple births need to be in the Neonatal Critical Care Transformation Programme Review. This rise in neonatal deaths among those with twins just underlines this point and we need to see real action without delay.”

References

  1. Child mortality in England and Wales: 2016
  2. These figures are based on statistics found in Table 8 from this link. This table shows there were 1,751 babies born in 2015 who died within a year, 252 of which were multiples. Infant mortality (birth cohort) tables in England and Wales.
  3. MBRRACE Perinatal Mortality Surveillance Report (June 2017)
  4. Safer Maternity Care (November 2017)