A new report published today from MBRRACE-UK, sets out the latest figures for stillbirths and neonatal deaths across the UK. While stillbirth rates are falling, there is a worrying lack of reduction in the neonatal mortality rate. Bliss, the UK’s leading charity for premature and sick babies, is calling for urgent action across health services in all four UK nations to prioritise programmes to improve neonatal care to ensure the neonatal death rate declines more rapidly.
The latest figures from MBRRACE-UK, from data collected in 2015, also show significant regional variations in the neonatal death rate for areas across England, echoing challenges highlighted by Bliss in our 2015 Bliss baby report: hanging in the balance.
Caroline Lee-Davey, Chief Executive of Bliss, commented: “These latest figures shine a light on the shocking prevalence of infant mortality across the UK, where 15 babies sadly die every day. While we welcome the progress that’s been made in recent years in reducing stillbirths, we are deeply concerned that the neonatal death rate is not falling at the same pace as the stillbirth rate, and has instead remained fairly static. We urgently call upon health leaders in all four countries to make neonatal care an immediate priority”.
In England, a Neonatal Transformation Review has recently been set up within NHS England to make recommendations relating to neonatal workforce, capacity and models of care. Bliss is calling for the new Conservative Government to lend their full support to this review to ensure it has the resources it needs across both the review and implementation stages of the programme.
MBRRACE-UK is a team of academics, clinicians and charity representatives led from the University of Leicester. It is commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership to monitor and investigate stillbirth and neonatal deaths as part of the Maternal, Newborn and Infant Clinical Outcome Review Programme, for which Bliss is a member of the Independent Advisory Group.