GHP January 2016

ghp January 2016 | 17 overview New Ambition to Halve Rate of Stillbirths and Infant Deaths One in 200 babies are stillborn in the UK 1 and ac- cording to the latest MBBRACE-UK report, between 60-65% of these antepartum stillbirths could have been prevented. Although fewer babies in the UK are stillborn today, it’s desperately disappointing that the four recommen- dations from this report remain exactly the same as when the confidential enquiry took place 15 years ago. In addition, of the 133 cases of stillbirths recorded in 2013, national guidance was not followed by hospitals in the majority of cases and there were too many ‘missed opportunities’ which could have potentially saved the lives of some of these babies. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) does not accept that all stillbirths are unavoid- able tragedies, and last year we launched Each Baby Counts, a five year initiative which aims to halve the number of babies who die or are left severely disabled as a result of incidents occurring during term labour by 2020. Local investigations following stillbirth remain an area in need of improvement so we are now collecting data from all UK units to help identify these avoidable factors, and consequently improve care and save lives. Every hospital trust in the UK has signed up to the programme and this will ensure that all incidents can be investigated at a national as well as local level. Only by scrutinising this data on an annual basis will we improve outcomes. Earlier this month, the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, announced that the NHS hopes to reduce the rate of stillbirths, neonatal and maternal deaths and morbidity in England by 50% by 2030. In order to achieve this there will be a £4 million investment into cardiotocography (CTG) equipment and training. A further £500,000 will be invested in developing a new system to review and learn from every stillbirth and neonatal death, and over £1 million will be invested in rolling out multi-disciplinary training packages, such as PROMPT, led by RCOG and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), these courses are designed to be used locally, and to improve the outcomes for mothers and their babies during obstetric emergencies. This NHS campaign fits closely with our Each Baby Counts programme, and we support the initiative wholeheartedly. The RCOG will continue to work closely with our clinical colleagues and the Royal College of Midwives to provide better multi-disciplinary training packages and promote more effective team working. The challenges of reducing health problems and deaths in mothers and babies due to contributory factors such as smoking, obesity and alcohol will also require similar commitment. Equally as important, training for healthcare profes- sionals to provide sensitive and engaged care is vital in improving maternity bereavement care for stillbirth in the UK. The key to improvement is ensuring that bereavement care meets the emotional and physical needs of parents and healthcare staff receive the nec- essary training when dealing with sensitive subjects. As leaders of the profession, The RCOG has an im- portant role to play through educational material and projects such as Each Baby Counts. The MBRRACE- UK report highlighted that investigations following antepartum stillbirth are in need of improvement but we have already taken a step in the right direction and are collecting data from every UK Trust on intrapartum incidents. Our ambition for the first Each Baby Counts report, due out next summer, is that we show how these national reviews are leading to real improve- ments in care. 1 The MBBRACE report, published 19 November By Dr. Professor Alan Cameron, RCOG Vice President, Clinical Quality