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Multiple Births: Infant Mortality

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 216242, tabled on 4 February 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to prevent deaths in twin babies.

Answered on

12 February 2019

In 2017, the Department funded the Twins and Multiple Births Association (TAMBA) Maternity Engagement Project. TAMBA’s work has contributed to findings in the recent MBRRACE-UK Perinatal Mortality Surveillance Report, released last year, showing the stillbirth rate for United Kingdom twins almost halving between 2014-16, a fall of 44%. In addition, neonatal deaths among UK twins has dropped 30%.

To reduce variance in the levels of maternity care across trusts, all maternity services now have one obstetrician, one midwife and one board level Maternity Safety Champion jointly responsible for championing maternity safety, spreading learning and encouraging best practice within their organisations. This includes adherence to National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines on issues such as antenatal care for multiple pregnancies.

Every maternity service in the National Health Service is actively implementing elements of the Saving Babies’ Lives Care Bundle, which is designed to tackle stillbirth and early neonatal death. The Care Bundle is undergoing review by an expert oversight group, who are currently reviewing how new Care Bundle elements can contribute to improving outcomes for twin and multiple pregnancies. The NHS Long Term Plan highlights our aim of rolling out the Care Bundle across every maternity unit in England in 2019.

The Maternity Transformation Programme is addressing safety in maternity services, including reducing inequalities in outcomes regarding twin and multiple births through various channels. The programme is supporting Local Maternity Systems to implement best practice care by working with the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, which has developed the Perinatal Mortality Review Tool to support standardised perinatal mortality reviews across NHS maternity and neonatal units in England, Scotland and Wales. All trusts in England are now using the tool to identify the factors associated with stillbirth and neonatal death, including within multiple pregnancies.

Answered by

Department of Health and Social Care