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UKs stillbirth rate falls by 8%

Thursday 29th June 2017
The number of stillbirths occurring in the UK fell by eight per cent between 2013 and 2015, new figures reveal. Image: janzwolinski via iStock
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    The UK's stillbirth rate has fallen by eight per cent over the past few years, new figures reveal.

    Statistics published by MBRACE-UK show that 6.04 perinatal - referring to the few weeks before and after a birth - deaths were recorded for every 1,000 births occurring at 24 weeks' gestation or later in Britain in 2013, but this has since dropped to 5.61 per 1,000 births in 2015.

    There has also been a decline in the number of neonatal deaths across the country, falling from 1.84 per 1,000 live births in 2013 to 1.74 per 1,000 two years later.

    Meanwhile, stillbirths fell from 4.20 in every 1,000 births in 2013 to 3.87 in every 1,000 over the two-year period.

    While welcoming these figures, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) also called for more to be done to reduce the neonatal death rate further, which will require extra government funding to ensure that healthcare departments have the right level of funding to tackle the issue. The government has in fact set a target to halve the UK's stillbirth and neonatal death rate by 2030.

    Mandy Forrester, head of quality and standards at the RCM, stated: "This is a welcome reduction and things are moving in the right direction, but there is still much more to do if we are going to match the lower stillbirth rates of other European countries.

    "There is rightly a need to tackle neonatal death rates, which have not fallen as much as the stillbirth rate. However, there is clearly a need to put even greater efforts into reducing both."

    The RCM therefore wants the government to provide extra funding so that maternity departments have enough resources for more nurses and midwives to carry out ultrasound scans and glucose tests so that any potential problems can be detected and addressed as early on as possible.

    Written by James Puckle

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