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Scottish Government Orders Investigation Into Recent Spike in New Born Baby Deaths

Photo: Omar Lopez/Unsplash

The Scottish Government announced an investigation of why newborn deaths were higher than expected in both September 2021 and March 2022, as published by Public Health Scotland.

Healthcare Improvement Scotland has been commissioned by the Scottish Government to investigate the high incidence of newborn mortality in the country.

“The review will cover all reported deaths across Scotland between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022 to find out if there is anything that may have contributed to the increase. Anything identified will feed into recommendations and actions to improve the quality of care for mother and babies,” according to the news release.

“Once the review team is formed it is expected it will take no longer than six to nine months to complete the work,” it added.

Deaths among infants younger than four weeks old increased to at least 18 in March (4.6 per 1,000 births) and as many as 21 in September (2021) (4.9 per 1,000 births), according to Scottish Daily Express.

“Every death is a tragedy for the families involved, that is why earlier this year I committed to this review to find out if there is a reason for the increase,” Public Health Minister Ms. Todd said.

“I appreciate how difficult this time is for anyone affected and I would encourage them to access support if they wish to do so.  There is information about organizations and help available on the National Bereavement Care Pathways Scotland as well as the Scottish Government website.”

More from Scottish Daily Express:

While infant death rates vary from month to month, the average among newborns is just over two per 1,000 births with neonatal mortality defined as death within 28 days of birth.

This is the second time since current records began in July 2017 and the second time in six months that the neonatal mortality rate hit 4.8 per 1000 live births, well beyond an upper warning threshold known as the “control limit”.

Coronavirus was suspected of playing a role but experts, while describing the figures as “really troubling” did not directly linked to the virus.

The review will not duplicate any matters which are, or have been, the subject of other review, investigation or audit processes.

Dr Sarah Stock, an expert in maternal and foetal medicine at the University of Edinburgh, told a national newspaper earlier this year: “I think the numbers are really troubling and I don’t think we know the reasons why yet.

“What we do know it’s not neonatal Covid – the rates of Covid-19 infection in babies are very low and deaths from Covid are thankfully very, very small, so this isn’t Covid affecting babies.”

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