In a disturbing piece in the Guardian today, we read:
‘About 80% of full-term stillbirths and deaths of babies during childbirth could be prevented if mothers received better care and UK maternity units were better staffed, according to a report by doctors, academics and health charities. About 180 babies died in 2015 as a result of midwife shortages, mistakes by maternity staff and delivery delays out of a total of 225 full-term stillbirths and deaths during childbirth, according to the study.’
The research was carried out by the MBRRACE-UK coalition. Note there is no breakdown of results for the four UK health areas or any discussion of differences between them.
The resultant message is that there is a midwifery staffing shortage across the UK and that babies are dying due to it. This is incorrect. See these comments from BBC Scotland News in the same year as the survey was done (2015) and the Royal College of Midwifery this year:
‘[T] here is not a shortage of midwives in Scotland.’
‘Today the Scottish Government has published its national maternity review ‘The Best Start – A Five Year Forward Plan for Maternity and Neonatal Care in Scotland’. Commenting on the Plan, Mary Ross-Davie, Director for Scotland at the Royal College of Midwives, said; “This is a very welcome report and one that has the full support of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM).’
Finally, the level of deaths of babies and infants, in Scotland is significantly lower than in the rest of the UK and, indeed, is approaching the Scandinavian ‘gold standard’. See This:
‘In the Nordic countries – Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland – the rate of stillbirths and deaths of babies within 28 days is 4.3 per 1 000 live births. This is the lowest in the world. In the USA, it’s about 10. The Scottish figure has now fallen to just 4.72 with the rate for the UK at 5.61.’
More details at:
At the beginning of this, I described the Guardian piece as disturbing. I meant that in two senses. First, clearly, the whole notion of stillbirth is deeply disturbing but secondly, this implied conflation of Scotland with the UK is all too common and all too ignorant.
Whether Ruth Davidson and/or the new Labour Leader in Scotland and/or BBC Scotland will attempt to use the same story to attack SNP management of NHS Scotland, we’ll see. We’ve already seen what a numpty the second of them is in his attack on privatisation in Scottish Water. See:
‘Leonard also called for Scottish Water to be nationalised, despite the utility company already being 100 per cent owned by the state.’
Let me know if you see signs of misuse of the research in the Scottish media.