Sands is a member of the MBRRACE-UK (Mothers and Babies: Reducing Risk through Audit and Confidential Enquiries) collaboration. MBRRACE-UK is national audit programme and is commissioned by all UK governments to collect information about all stillbirths, neonatal deaths and maternal deaths across the UK. The programme tracks information about where and why babies and mothers die.
- We are full MBRRACE-UK members, contributing a parent perspective in the work to gather, analyse and share information about baby deaths
- We put forward ideas for more indepth enquiries we believe are important to parents
- We help define standards for bereavement care which are used by enquiry panels to measure care against
- We contribute to the writing of the plain English version of the enquiry, to ensure that it can be read by everyone
- We provide our own simple to read summaries of all MBRRACE-UK reports so anyone can see how the work sits in the bigger picture of preventing baby deaths in the UK. See below
MBRRACE-UK collects information from all UK hospitals on babies who have died before, during or shortly after birth in a particular year. Their annual reports include national maps showing how different rates of baby death across the country compare with eachother, taking the national average as a benchmark. Trusts and Health Boards who deliver maternity and neonatal care with rates above the national average are recommended to look at what is happening in their area and to introduce improvements to reduce the number of deaths. These improvememtns may include using the the Perintal Mortality Review Tool to understand their deaths better, and service improvement tools such as the Saving Babies Lives Care Bundle. Areas with lower rates are encouraged to reduce their rates to levels seen in some European countries. The UK's rate of stillbirth (for babies after 28 weeks gestation) ranks about middle for similar hi-income countries. Sands feels this is too unacceptably high.
The reports and summaries written for a lay audience are available here
MBRRACE-UK also carries out what are known as 'confidential enquiries' into the deaths of particular groups of babies - all babies who die of a particular condition, say, or all babies who are stillborn at 37 weeks or more, before birth. This means that clinical experts look at medical case notes to see if there were any problems with the care the mother or baby/babies received to ensure their care followed national and local guidelines.
Two recent enquiries into babies who died, both before, during and shortly after birth towards the end of pregnancy (term) found that better care might have changed what happened for between 6 to 8 out of 10 babies who died. The recommendations of both these enquiries have led to improvements in maternity care.
The enquiry reports with lay and infographic versions are here
The current confidential enquiry is looking at babies who were part of a twin pregnancy and died. This will report in 2020.