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One in five NHS trusts are given a ‘red’ infant mortality rate: the mortality rate is more than 5% above average

One in five NHS trusts given a ‘red’ infant mortality rate: an audit finds the death rate for women during pregnancy or within a year of giving birth is more than 5% above the average in other countries

  • The death rate was 5 percent above average, as 23 received the 2020 rating
  • The MBRRACE report examined stillbirths and deaths within four weeks of birth
  • The number of women who died up to six weeks after giving birth had risen by a quarter

Nearly a fifth of NHS trusts have been rated ‘red’ for infant mortality rates.

A national audit found that 23 received the rating for 2020, meaning the death rate was more than 5 percent above average. The figure is 50 percent higher than the 14 trusts of 2019.

The Mothers and Babies report: Reducing Risk through Audit and Confidential Inquiries (MBRRACE) examined stillbirths and deaths within four weeks of birth.

Another report from the body found that the number of women who died up to six weeks after having a baby had risen by a quarter in five years.

It said 229 mothers died along with 27 of their babies between 2018 and 2020, with many of the deaths “avoidable.”

A national audit found that 23 received the rating for 2020, meaning the death rate was more than 5 percent above average. The figure is 50 percent higher than the 14 trusts of 2019

Another 289 women died between six weeks and a year after giving birth.

Last week, a study by an international team of researchers revealed that British mothers were more than three times more likely to die during pregnancy or within a year of giving birth than their counterparts in Norway.

In the MBRRACE audit, six trusts were marked red for both their stillbirth and neonatal death rates when measured separately.

The other 17 trusts entered the red zone after the two separate measures were combined for an overall assessment.

Zero trusts were rated red for both stillbirth and neonatal death in the 2019 and 2018 audits and one in 2017.

Trusts are compared to providers that are similar to them, for example hospitals with neonatal intensive care units or of a similar size.

The six trusts rated red for both stillbirths and neonatal births were Buckinghamshire Healthcare, Gloucestershire Hospitals, University Hospitals Dorset, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals, University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire and University Hospitals of Leicester.

The rates were adjusted to account for the fact that some trusts have a large number of mothers at particularly high risk of their baby dying.

The six trusts rated red for both stillbirths and neonatal births were Buckinghamshire Healthcare, Gloucestershire Hospitals, University Hospitals Dorset, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals, University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire and University Hospitals of Leicester

The six trusts rated red for both stillbirths and neonatal births were Buckinghamshire Healthcare, Gloucestershire Hospitals, University Hospitals Dorset, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals, University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire and University Hospitals of Leicester

The rates were adjusted to account for the fact that some trusts have a large number of mothers at particularly high risk of their baby dying

The rates were adjusted to account for the fact that some trusts have a large number of mothers at particularly high risk of their baby dying

These include being over 40, living in poverty, or being pregnant with twins or triplets.

Andrew Furlong, medical director at University Hospitals of Leicester, told the Health Service Journal: ‘Where lessons have been identified from assessments of care, we have developed robust action plans and strengthened care practice to shape and improve future services.’

An NHS England spokesman said it was supporting trusts and health systems to improve maternity and neonatal care.

Measures include improving access to interpreters, providing clearer guidelines for medical assessment and updating processes for ultrasound scans.

University Hospitals Dorset said the trust had looked into the issues behind the data and found ‘no consistent themes’.

Liverpool Women’s Foundation Trust said external factors – including deprivation – influenced the trust’s higher mortality rates.

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