Dundee still­birth fig­ures ‘shame­ful’

City death rate dou­ble na­tional peri­na­tal mor­tal­ity av­er­age

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - Paul ma­lik

Ba­bies born in Dundee are more likely to be still­born or die within the first seven days of their lives than in any other part of Scot­land.

Stark statis­tics re­vealed the peri­na­tal mor­tal­ity rate in Dundee was dou­ble the Scot­tish av­er­age, with 12 of ev­ery 1,000 chil­dren born hav­ing died within a week of life.

Labour health spokesman Anas Sar­war MSP called the fig­ures “shame­ful” and said Health Sec­re­tary Shona Ro­bi­son – who rep­re­sents Dundee East – must do more in her own “back­yard”.

NHS Tay­side said peri­na­tal mor­tal­ity rates were ex­ac­er­bated by preg­nant women who smoke.

The Tay­side re­gion has more women who smoke while preg­nant than any­where else in the coun­try.

Ba­bies born in Dundee are more likely to be still­born or die within the first seven days of their lives than any­where else in Scot­land.

Stark fig­ures re­leased by the Of­fice for Na­tional Statis­tics (ONS) show Dundee has the high­est rate of peri­na­tal mor­tal­ity in the coun­try and the fourth high­est in­ci­dence rate in the UK.

Twelve in ev­ery 1,000 live births in Dundee were still­born, or died within the first week of life in Dundee, dou­ble the Scot­tish av­er­age.

Doc­tors cited smok­ing as a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to in­fant mor­tal­ity, along with ex­pec­tant mothers hav­ing a body mass in­dex (BMI) greater than 35.

More than one in five women in Tay­side book­ing an­te­na­tal ap­point­ments with the NHS ad­mit­ted to smok­ing while preg­nant, again the high­est in the coun­try.

A spokesman for the health board said: “NHS Tay­side closely mon­i­tors and re­ports on rates of still­birth, neona­tal and in­fant mor­tal­ity. NHS Tay­side also mon­i­tors other preg­nancy out­comes in­clud­ing peri­na­tal mor­bid­ity, ma­ter­nal mor­bid­ity and ma­ter­nal mor­tal­ity.”

He added: “In ad­di­tion to com­pre­hen­sive re­views of still­births and deaths that oc­cur within the hos­pi­tal set­ting, pre­ven­ta­tive work around still­birth is em­bed­ded into our mid­wives’ and doc­tors’ ev­ery­day prac­tice.”

The still­birth and neona­tal death char­ity Sands said although the high mor­tal­ity rate did not nec­es­sar­ily re­flect poor stan­dards of care, health boards could not af­ford to be­come com­pla­cent.

Janet Scott, a re­search lead for the group, said: “ONS data is not ad­justed for fac­tors that in­flu­ence peri­na­tal mor­tal­ity such as so­cial de­pri­va­tion and eth­nic­ity, so a high mor­tal­ity rate in this ta­ble doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean poor care in that re­gion.”

Labour MSP Anas Sar­war said: “Th­ese are shame­ful fig­ures that should lead to ur­gent ac­tion from the SNP.

“There are clearly is­sues to be ad­dressed across the coun­try – but Health Sec­re­tary Shona Ro­bi­son should be tak­ing a greater in­ter­est in th­ese is­sues in her own back­yard.”

Pic­ture: Kim Cess­ford.

Ninewells Hos­pi­tal in Dundee.

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