Steve Brine attended a parliamentary reception in the House of Commons on Thursday 19th January, organised by Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, as they launched their new report, Preventing Babies' Deaths: what needs to be done.
6,500 babies are stillborn or die shortly after birth every year in the UK. The charity's report proposes that 1,200 babies' lives could be saved every year through a combination of more research, better care and greater awareness of the risks of stillbirth and newborn baby death.
In pledging his support for the Sands campaign, Steve said: "I was shocked to discover the scale of baby deaths in the UK. 17 babies are stillborn or die shortly after birth every day, with stillbirth being the largest contributor to child deaths under the age of five years. These deaths have a devastating impact on parents and their families, and I fully support Sands in their call for urgent action to prevent baby deaths in the future."
The Report highlights that advances in neonatal medicine have led to small but welcome reductions in the number of newborn babies dying, however, Sands remains extremely concerned by the UK's persistently high stillbirth rates; stillbirth numbers in the UK are the same today as they were in the late 1990s, with 1 in 200 babies being stillborn. The UK has one of the highest stillbirth rates when compared to similar high income countries, yet Sands strongly believes that with the appropriate commitment and investment in research and improved care, a reduction in these rates is achievable and should be a key focus for all those concerned with maternity services.
Neal Long, Chief Executive of Sands, addressed MPs at the parliamentary reception. He said: "A third of stillborn babies – around 1,200 babies - are perfectly formed and born at gestations when they might safely be delivered. But routine antenatal care is failing to detect far too many babies who need help. These babies' deaths are those that Sands, researchers and clinicians working in obstetrics, believe are avoidable deaths.
"We want to see real national commitment to tackling this ignored tragedy and preventing all avoidable baby deaths in the future. We want lives saved and families spared the desperate heartbreak of losing their precious baby."
Pictured; Steve joins Neal Long at the Commons reception
Find out more at www.uk-sands.org.