An official report published by experts at Manchester University has found that poor care in NHS maternity wards across the UK is causing 600 preventable stillbirths each year.

Each year, approximately 665,000 babies are born in England with one in every 200 being stillborn. Despite being the lowest rate of stillbirths in 20 years, the 3000 stillbirths that occur each year could be reduced by 600 if all UK hospitals followed new national guidelines known as, Saving Babies Lives Care Bundle.

By adhering to these guidelines, some hospitals have reduced the number of stillbirths by a fifth. The Saving Babies Lives Care Bundle consists of efforts to reduce cigarette smoking during pregnancy, informing women about reduced foetal movements, improving the monitoring of babies throughout labour and detecting small babies as soon as possible. The report has identified that within those hospitals following the new guidelines, there had been a 59% increase in the detection of small babies.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock has said, “We still have more to do but these results demonstrate really positive progress towards our ambition to halve the rates of stillbirth, neonatal death and maternal death by 2025.”

Shockingly, figures from 2016 have revealed that, in terms of rates of stillbirths, the UK was placed at 114th out of 164 countries and Britain was ranked 21st out of 35 of the world’s developed nations.

Speaking on the success of the new guidelines, Jane Brewin, CEO at Tommy’s Centre for Stillbirth Research has said “We are finally making progress towards making this country the safest place to give birth in the world and that’s something really worth striving for.”

The Foundation for Infant Loss offer much needed support and guidance to families affected by stillbirth and infant loss. In April 2018 the Foundation for Infant Loss launched its Nationwide Baby loss helpline for families including information about local services, counselling and legal issues. If you require any assistance or support from the Foundation, please see their website at: http://www.foundationforinfantloss.co.uk/

Freeths LLP have a close connection with The Foundation for Infant Loss, which is also committed to educating medical and medico-legal professionals about infant loss and bereavement. Jane Williams of our Leicester office, Carolyn Lowe of our Oxford and Milton Keynes offices, and Claire Cooper of our Derby and Stoke offices, are now officially endorsed by the Foundation of Infant Loss having received their specialist training on stillbirth and infant loss.

Freeths’ Clinical Negligence Solicitors have a national reputation for providing the highest quality advice in stillbirth medical negligence cases. If you are concerned about any treatment or which you or a loved one have received during pregnancy or labor, please contact one of our national team:-

Siobhan Genever, Director (Nottingham) on 0845 271 6793 or siobhan.genever@freeths.co.uk

Carolyn Lowe, Partner (Oxford/Milton Keynes) on 0186 578 1019 or carolyn.lowe@freeths.co.uk

Karen Reynolds, Partner (Derby/Stoke) on 0845 272 5677 or karen.reynolds@freeths.co.uk

Jane Williams, Partner (Leicester) on 0845 272 5724 or jane.williams@freeths.co.uk

For further information please also visit our website at: http://www.freeths.co.uk/legal-services/individuals/clinical-negligence/

For further information on this report, please see: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2018/07/29/600-babies-could-saved-stillbirth-year-maternity-units-followed/