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Perinatal Mortality rates Increased in 2021 - Who is to Blame?

Updated: Sep 30, 2023

It was recently announced that perinatal mortality rates increased in the UK in 2021. Given that an increase in these deaths was used as a basis for prosecuting Lucy Letby what does this new finding mean for the state of maternal and neonatal care in the NHS? https://www.bmj.com/content/382/bmj.p2119


The video below gives an overview of the statistics associated with neonatal death...

References


Nath S, Hardelid P, Zylbersztejn A. Are infant mortality rates increasing in England? The effect of extreme prematurity and early neonatal deaths. J Public Health (Oxf). 2021 Sep 22;43(3):541-550. doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdaa025. PMID: 32119086; PMCID: PMC8458015.


National Child Mortality Database. Sudden and Unexpected Deaths in Infancy and Childhood National Child Mortality Database Programme Thematic Report.


Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 1 March 2023, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Child and infant mortality in England and Wales: 2021


RimmerA. UK perinatal mortality rates increased in 2021 for first time in seven yearsBMJ 2023; 382 :p2119 doi:10.1136/bmj.p2119


Schindler T, Koller-Smith L, Lui K, Bajuk B, Bolisetty S; New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory Neonatal Intensive Care Units’ Data Collection. Causes of death in very preterm infants cared for in neonatal intensive care units: a population-based retrospective cohort study. BMC Pediatr. 2017 Feb 21;17(1):59. doi: 10.1186/s12887-017-0810-3. PMID: 28222717; PMCID: PMC5319155.

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25 Comments


Tanya Adele
Tanya Adele
Sep 28, 2023

Don't want ro make this political but I'm gonna blame the tories. Its probably increased through out social care and other areas of healthcare because it is a mess.

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I believe this topic alone needs a very public enquiry!

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On a more serious note: medicine is both art and science... and the complexities of human biology... physiology and all that goes with it (genetics, nutritional state, immune status, environmental insults/toxins, etc., etc.) cannot be reduced to simple statistics and variances, when it comes to health and disease outcomes.

Of course, with a large enough sample, that is relatively comparable among the relevant (control) variables, in a stable environment, then various "interventions" can be measured to see if "statistically significant" differences result.

Consider the myriad risk factors in premature neonates (with variable maternal-fetal risks/insults):

+/- traumatic labors and/or deliveries... +/- fetal acidosis... +/- neurological injury... +/- brief immediate resuscitation vs. prolonged w/intubation-ventilation... (with varying degrees of pulmonary immaturity)... +/- feta…

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Replying to

Can you say when they upgraded please.

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Henry Samms
Henry Samms
Sep 28, 2023

Excellent video presentation albeit also very worrying if that’s the state of play in our neonatal units with so many infant deaths rising year on year.

The NHS needs to man up to the task of giving the public an explanation.

Perhaps they should started making the “murderer of the year award“ as LL won for 2016.

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Was the year 2014 the point at which NHS budget reductions were beginning to "bite". Could there be a correlation between squeezed funds and the growing mortality rate in infants ?

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Mary Smyth
Mary Smyth
Oct 11, 2023
Replying to

Yes. There's a correlation between NHS budget and patient outcomes. The budget is managed by economists, not clinical nursing staff and doctors working at the coal face (people who know what's needed in order to free up time for the really important work that improves outcomes). As a senior and experienced clinical nurse no one ever asked me for my input on how money should be spent or, just as importantly, on how savings could be made. There's a lot of waste.


In nursing in particular, there's the onerous requirement to make copious amounts of written documentation that is so time-consuming and largely of no use to any one. Again, this was not a decision made by nurses. It w…


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