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Preventing baby deaths needs funding commitment

Latest report on stillbirths and neonatal deaths shows variation across UK

Funding for specialist units and public health messages is needed to reduce stillbirths and neonatal deaths, said the Royal College of Nursing in response to a new study.

A report from MBRRACE-UK (published today) found ‘significant variation’ in stillbirths and neonatal mortality across the UK, despite a slight fall in deaths since 2014.

RCN professional lead for midwifery and women’s health Carmel Bagness said: ‘Every stillbirth and neonatal loss is a tragedy.

‘[This is why it is] so important to investigate these deaths for potential factors which could help prevent them, through improvements in care.

‘The government has rightly set out its intention to reduce stillbirths, neonatal and maternal deaths by 20% by 2020.

‘This is an admirable aim and must now be supported with funding for specialist units, public health messaging and countering health inequalities.’

Ms Bagness added that midwives and healthcare staff always strived to reduce loss of life.

‘This report’s findings will be a vital tool in helping to achieve better results, where improvements in care have been shown to help.’

The stillbirth and neonatal death charity Sands called for more resources and a clear strategy to reduce baby deaths.

It also drew attention to the fact that the poorest women and black or Asian women continued to have a higher risk of stillbirth or neonatal death.

Sands acting chief executive Judith Abela said: ‘A significant fall in the rates of stillbirth and neonatal death will not succeed without a clearer strategy, supported by adequate funding.’

 

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