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New team to lead maternal and newborn health programme
6 January 2011
A new team based in Oxford will lead the national Maternal and Newborn Clinical Outcomes Review Programme from April 2011, the National Patient Safety Agency has announced.
The programme will investigate the deaths of women and their babies during or after childbirth, and cases where women and their offspring survive serious illness during pregnancy or after childbirth.
It will incorporate the Confidential Enquiries into Maternal and Newborn Health.
Almost one in every 100 births in the UK leads to a stillbirth or newborn death and up to 100 women die annually during or just after pregnancy.
Experts hope to prevent these illnesses and deaths, and improve maternal and neonatal care for all mothers and babies.
The Confidential Enquiries into Maternal and Newborn Health were previously carried out by the Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries (CMACE). The Confidential Enquiries have led to major improvements in the health and care of women and their babies but medical experts believe instances of poor care still exist and further improvements can still be made.
The new programme, called MBRRACE-UK (Mothers and Babies - Reducing Risk through Audits and Confidential Enquiries across the UK), will be jointly run by the universities of Oxford, Leicester, Liverpool and Birmingham, Imperial College London, Sands - the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, and an Oxford GP.
It will be based at Oxford University’s National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit (NPEU) and will build on existing research projects, including the UK Obstetric Surveillance System (UKOSS) led by Dr Marian Knight at the NPEU, and the Infant Mortality and Morbidity Studies (TIMMS) led by Professors Elizabeth Draper and David Field at the University of Leicester. Dr Jenny Kurinczuk at the NPEU will lead the new team.
Dr Kurinczuk said: ‘It is a privilege to be taking forward this work into a new era. The work of CMACE has contributed to significant improvements in the health and care of pregnant women and their babies, yet there are still improvements in health and care to be made. This new programme will help ensure a safe and happy experience for parents in the future.
‘We are delighted that we will be working closely with the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the Institute for Child Health, which have jointly been awarded the new Child Health Clinical Outcomes Review Programme. Linking the methods and findings from the two new programmes will have important benefits for the health of children of all ages.’
Dr Tony Falconer President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) said: ‘Confidential enquiries help doctors spot emerging trends, identify problems and put into place mechanisms to improve care. These enquiries, which started in the UK, are used as the gold standard around the world to demonstrate how well a country is doing in terms of its overall health.
‘NPEU has an outstanding track record in conducting clinical research, surveillance and audit. We look forward to working with NPEU on future confidential enquiries and audit into maternal and infant health and support all efforts to ensure that these reports continue to be collated.’
Louise Silverton, Deputy General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, said: ‘The work of MBRRACE-UK will play a crucial role in identifying areas in maternity care where attention and improvement is needed. This is important for midwives because it helps to inform and improve their practice but most importantly, it is important for women and their babies who as a result, will receive safer and better care.’
Prof Terence Stephenson, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said: ‘This is an excellent new team and we look forward, on behalf of paediatricians in the UK, to working together to develop both the newborn and child health clinical review programmes.’
Janet Scott, Research Manager at Sands, the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death charity, said: ‘Every day in the UK 17 families are devastated by the death of their baby either shortly before or soon after they are born. We believe some of these deaths are potentially avoidable so we are extremely excited to be involved in this new initiative and to be able to bring the perspective of parents to understanding why some babies die.’
For more details contact Dr Jenny Kurinczuk or Dr Marian Knight at the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com / 01865 289700