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Require the NHS to continue to reduce infant and maternal deaths

Last updated: 01:17pm 6 June 2019

We will require the NHS to continue to reduce infant and maternal deaths, which remain too high.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.69

Our verdict

As part of the NHS Five Year Forward View, in 2016 a report by the National Maternity Review was published. The recommendations for improved maternity services contained in that report are the framework for the government’s ambition to “halve rates of stillbirths, neonatal and maternal deaths, and brain injuries occurring during or soon after birth” by 2025. This policy is a promise to require the NHS to continue to reduce those rates.

The government’s mandate to NHS England for 2018-19 contains an expectation that NHS England will aim to:

“reduce the 2010 rate of stillbirths, neonatal deaths, maternal deaths and brain injuries in babies that occur during or soon after birth by 20% by 2020, demonstrating progress towards the national ambition to reduce rates by 50% by 2025.”

The January 2019 NHS Long Term Plan – for which the government is responsible in its role as strategic leader of the NHS – contains a raft of actions aimed at hitting the 50% reduction target.

The government’s mandate to the NHS explicitly requires rapid improvement and the continued reduction of infant and maternal deaths, and the NHS Long Term Plan attempts to chart a course to a significant reduction within six years. We’re marking this policy as ‘done’. We’ll keep tracking to see whether the rates of infant and maternal deaths do actually fall, so follow this policy for updates.

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