Too many baby deaths avoidable, report into NHS finds

Full story The Guardian, 13 November 2018

Seven out of 10 stillbirths, neonatal deaths and babies brain damaged at birth could be avoided if the NHS provided better care during labour, a new government-funded report has found.

The inquiry identified lack of staff, the pressure on maternity units and a failure by midwives and obstetricians to follow guidelines as common factors in such events.

They are three of the main reasons why more than 1,100 of the 700,000 babies born every year in the UK either die during or soon after birth or suffer serious injuries to their brain, it found.

The conclusions, from the Each Baby Counts project, are intended to improve maternity care and reduce potentially avoidable deaths and serious harm to babies during birth and in their first seven days.

Its second report into such incidents found that, while such events were “rare”, of those that occurred in 2016, 71% might have been avoided if the mother had received higher quality of care while giving birth.