UK looks to medical technology over high perinatal death rates:
This article was originally published in Clinica
The current level of intrapartum-related deaths [in the UK] is unacceptable, and a renewed focus on clinical standards, research and audit is urgently needed." So says chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson in his report on the state of public health for 2006, of what he describes as a "seemingly intractable" situation. At 8.2 perinatal (ie stillbirths and early neonatal) deaths per 1,000 births - totalling 7,000 per year - the UK barely ranks at average levels for the developed world, and "considerably worse than North America and Australasia". The focus of his concerns is, more specifically, the death of the 500 or so babies annually who are apparently healthy during the start of labour for which the cause is not known. He is calling for "intensive research" to be carried out into these, as well as a review of all perinatal deaths - to help "elucidate the avoidable factors".