Figures published today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the number of babies who are stillborn or die within 4 weeks of birth in the UK has fallen to an average of 14 babies a day - that’s 345 fewer baby deaths in 2018 than in 2017.
Clea Harmer, Chief Executive at Sands (Stillbirth and neonatal death charity), said:
“Today’s ONS figures reveal a welcome fall in the UK’s stillbirth rate, following concerted efforts by Sands and other organisations to drive Government and NHS initiatives that save babies’ lives.
“However, there is no room for complacency. The fact remains that 14 babies a day in the UK are stillborn or die within four weeks of birth. And although stillbirth rates have begun to fall, the rate of newborn deaths has stagnated since 2012.
“Overall, if the next Government is to reach the goal of halving baby deaths in England by 2025, we need to see a much faster and greater reduction in future.”
Understanding why babies die is vital if we are to save more lives and Sands is working with bereaved parents, world-leading researchers and clinicians to find the answers.
Although this reduction is welcome news, it doesn't remove the enormous sadness that there are still so many families who are devastated by the death of a baby. These families will always, for the rest of their lives, not have their babies.
We know that the lives of the babies who die can never be reduced to a statistic.
While fewer babies are dying in the UK than ever before, our work continues supporting anyone left shattered by the death of a baby.
Sands continues to do everything possible to stop people having to experience such tragedy, to reduce the thousands of people whose lives are changed forever.