Today MBRRACE-UK publishes the first perinatal mortality surveillance report for Trusts and Health Boards in the UK. Commissioned by Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership, this is a Supplement to the MBRRACE‑UK perinatal mortality surveillance report for births in 2013 published in June 2015 https://www.npeu.ox.ac.uk/mbrrace-uk/reports.

The report assesses clinical performance based not just on crude mortality rates but also having taken account of some important socio-demographic factors that influence pregnancy outcomes. The team, led by University of Leicester, has identified areas for improvement for NHS Trusts and Health Boards across the UK.

Charlotte Bevan, Senior Research and Prevention Adviser at Sands, said: “This report gives us a snapshot of baby deaths across the country and what it tells us is that there is huge variation, even when you compare like-for-like units. The question we need to answer is why. We know from the recent national confidential enquiry that 60% of babies who die before they are born and close to their due dates might have been saved if basic guidelines in antenatal care were followed. 

“As if these failings of care were not bad enough, it appears units are not learning from these deaths. Only a small minority are being reviewed to understand what happened and whether the baby might have been saved with better care. This means that mistakes are likely to be repeated.

“Jeremy Hunt has pledged to fund a review tool developed by the Department of Health with Sands so that all baby deaths are reviewed in a robust and standardised way. We urge him to fast track this work. In the meantime, all trusts should look to improve their root cause analysis of deaths as a matter of urgency to understand if poor care is playing a role and how care can be improved.”

Ends

Notes to editors:

For further information please contact Hannah Ward, Communications Manager at Sands, on 020 3598 4910 or media@uk-sands.org

For enquiries directed to the MBRRACE-UK team please contact Professor David Field df36@le.ac.uk; 0116 252 5437 or Dr Bradley Manktelow email: bm18@le.ac.uk; tel: 0116 2525496.

For further information about MBRRACE-UK please visit https://www.npeu.ox.ac.uk/mbrrace-uk

About Sands

Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, was established by bereaved parents in 1978.

Sands supports anyone affected by the death of a baby; works in partnership with health professionals to improve the quality of care and services offered to bereaved families; and promotes and funds research and changes in practice that could help to reduce the loss of babies’ lives.

Sands is a national organisation, with around 100 regional support groups across the UK.  Further information can be found at www.uk-sands.org.