Sands has today raised with Nadine Dorries MP, Minister for Patient Safety, the urgent need for additional funding for a confidential enquiry into the deaths of Asian and Asian British babies.
We are urgently calling for the Government to fund this enquiry, in a joint letter alongside the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Royal College of Midwives and National Childbirth Trust (NCT).
Improvements in rates of stillbirths and neonatal deaths are good but are not shared equally among all women and babies. Babies from minority ethnic or socioeconomically deprived backgrounds continue to be at significantly greater risk of perinatal death than their white or less deprived peers.
- Health and Social Care Committee report into the safety of maternity services in England
Unfortunately, despite recent improvements, the current trajectory in reducing the rate of stillbirths means the Government will be a long way off achieving their National Maternity Safety Ambition to reduce stillbirths and neonatal deaths by 50% by 2025.
Tackling the inequality in outcomes for babies will be key to achieving that target.
In order to fully understand the issue, and develop a successful strategy, in depth investigations known as confidential enquiries are needed into the deaths of babies from different groups.
Previous confidential enquiries, for example into term stillbirths and deaths in labour, have transformed understanding of the changes that are needed to make care safer and contributed significantly to reducing deaths in those groups.