Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) today show that in England and Wales in 2018, deaths of babies in the first weeks of life are slightly lower than 2017, but that over the last five years there has been no overall improvement.

When combined with recent stillbirth statistics that means around 1 baby in every 150 died before birth or before they were 4 weeks old, leaving more than 4,500 families bereaved and devastated.

Kate Mulley,  Director of Research, Education and Policy at Sands (Stillbirth and neonatal death charity), said:

“Despite the good news that fewer newborn babies died in 2018 in comparison to the previous year, there is no room for complacency as the long-term trend paints a stagnant picture.

“The Government has made reducing baby deaths a priority and we urge them and the NHS to redouble their efforts and ensure that many more families are spared the devastation caused by the death of their precious baby.

“It’s vital that Trusts put in place high quality reviews of every baby’s death to learn lessons and make sure maternity and neonatal care is as safe as possible for every family. There is also an urgent need to implement the findings of the Neonatal Critical Care Review, which sets out the actions required to bring about positive change in our over-stretched neonatal services.”

The full ONS statistical release is available here.