Bliss responds to Each Baby Counts report

Posted on November 13, 2018

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has released their new Each Baby Counts report which highlights the variation in how instances of stillbirth, neonatal death and severe brain injury are reviewed.

A new report from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has found significant variation in how instances of stillbirth, neonatal death and severe brain injury are reviewed. Among the report’s key recommendations is that services should ensure neonatal clinicians are involved in reviews in order to shine a light on the care that babies received after birth as well as during labour – and ultimately improve outcomes for babies.

The Each Baby Counts report, published today, shows that the proportion of reviews which included a neonatal clinician on the review panel fell from 68 per cent in 2015 to 66 per cent in 2016. The lack of representation is directly impacting the quality of the reviews. A sample of 475 reviews showed that 57 per cent did not contain sufficient information about the neonatal care provided.

The report also found:

  • In 71 per cent of cases a baby might have had a different outcome if they received different care. This is a small reduction from 2015 when 76 per cent of babies may have had a different outcome with different care.
  • Specialist neonatal reviewers reviewed a sample of cases and found that differences in neonatal care may have made a difference to outcomes in 46 per cent of cases.
  • The number of parents involved in reviews has risen to 41 per cent, from 34 per cent in 2015. However, the number of parents who had no involvement in the review, or were even made aware it was happening, actually increased.

Bliss Chief Executive Caroline Lee-Davey said ‘’This report makes for really difficult reading. It is disappointing that there has been so little progress in terms of improving care so that fewer babies suffer a devastating outcome. It is also unacceptable that neonatal representation throughout the review process remains inadequate in so many cases.

‘’These findings clearly show that neonatal input is critical for identifying further improvements to the quality of neonatal care for those babies who need it and Bliss urges services to ensure all panels include neonatal representation going forward.

‘The UK will only become the safest place in the world to have a baby if there is greater integration, communication and shared learning between maternity and neonatal teams. As such, any future developments and potential new national centre for quality improvement, as recommended by the RCOG, must focus on improving how the whole system functions together – rather than solely on maternity care.’’