MBRRACE-UK Perinatal Mortality Surveillance Report published

“Perinatal Mortality Surveillance Report – UK Perinatal Deaths for Births from January to December 2015”

The third annual Perinatal Mortality Surveillance Report issued by the MBRRACE-UK collaboration is published today.

The report shows that the stillbirth rate in the UK has reduced by almost 8% over the period 2013 to 2015. The Government ambition is to halve the rates of stillbirth and neonatal death in England by 2030. These findings indicate that things are moving in the right direction.

Led by the MBRRACE-UK collaborators based in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of Leicester, the MBRRACE-UK report focuses on rates of stillbirth and neonatal death across the UK for babies born at 24 weeks of gestation or more. In 2015 the stillbirth rate was 3.87 per 1,000 total births, a fall from 4.20 in 2013. Nevertheless, despite this reduction UK stillbirth rates still remain high compared to many similar European countries and there remains significant variation across the UK that is not solely explained by some of the important factors that influence the rate of death such as poverty, mothers age, multiple birth and ethnicity.

Over the same period the neonatal death rate has remained fairly static with a fall between 2013 and 2015 from 1.84 to 1.74 deaths per 1,000 live births, indicating that more work is required to prevent these deaths in the future. Data for the Neonatal Networks shows that neonatal mortality rates vary between 1.15 and 3.21 deaths per 1,000 live births. Much of this variation is accounted for by differences in the proportion of babies dying from a major congenital anomaly.

Broadly similar NHS Trusts and Health Boards have been grouped together by their type of care or the number of mothers they provide maternity care for to provide an appropriate comparison of their mortality rates. MBRRACE-UK recommend that those Trusts and Health Boards identified with high rates of stillbirth or neonatal death rates (highlighted by the traffic lights system) should review the quality of the care they provide. Work commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Programme is underway to develop a standardised Perinatal Mortality Review Tool (PMRT) to support and improve the quality of local reviews of all stillbirths and neonatal deaths carried out by Trusts and Health Boards in the future. The PMRT is in development as an integral part of the MBRRACE-UK programme of work.

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