More neonatal nursing and midwifery staff key to reducing baby deaths, say charities

Charities have called for urgent action to address staffing and funding shortfalls in neonatal care in the light of a report highlighting ongoing variations in stillbirths and newborn baby death rates.

The report, published by a team of academics, clinicians and charity representatives, shows a slight fall in overall stillbirth and neonatal death rates across the UK in 2014.

The rate of stillbirths per 1,000 dropped from 4.2 in 2013 to 4.16 in 2014, while neonatal deaths fell from 1.84 per 1,000 to 1.77. However, the data reveals significant variation in death rates that cannot purely be explained by factors such as poverty, more older mothers giving birth and more multiple births.

The report, published by MBRRACE-UK (Mothers and Babies: Reducing Risk through Audits and Confidential Enquiries across the UK), presents results for individual NHS trusts and health boards grouped into different categories depending on the type and complexity of neonatal care they provide.

Full story in Nursing Times 17 May 2016