Stillbirth review recommendations to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital
A review into stillbirths commissioned by the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals (NNUH) has found that its obstetrics and gynaecology (O&G) department is well-functioning and congratulated the hospital for its open approach to looking at stillbirths more closely.
The review made recommendations regarding improving documentation processes, departmental changes in role, standardising guidelines and revising training.
Last year the Obstetric Departments risk management process detected a relative rise in the number of stillbirths recorded at NNUH. National figures now available suggest that the NNUH rate was still below the national rate but to provide additional assurance an external review was commissioned.
The stillbirth number has since reduced and is currently at 3 per thousand in 2012.
The department is actioning the review teams recommendations which are:
o To consider the introduction of foetal fibronectin testing for pre-term labour;
o Revision of some local clinical guidelines, with greater electronic access to guidelines;
o Revision of the current clinical training programme;
o Redistribution of some responsibilities within the O&G Department;
o To consider creation of a Day Assessment Unit.
Chief Executive Anna Dugdale said: Our stillbirth numbers have never been above the national average and have now fallen even further to 3 per thousand.
We know that in over half of all stillbirths it is not possible to determine the underlying cause although it can be affected by a range of factors including congenital abnormality, smoking, obesity and problems with the placenta.
We want to do everything we can to minimise the risks for families as part of our commitment to provide the best quality of care for our patients. Any stillbirth is a tragedy and our staff will continue to provide support to affected families.
Notes for editors
1. Each year 6,200 babies are born at NNUH.
2. Testing for the presence of fibronectin can be used as part of the assessment of whether a woman has entered preterm (or premature) labour. A positive result is inconclusive and labour may or may not follow for some weeks. A negative result however provides a strong indication that the baby will not be delivered within the next 7 days.
3. The latest available national statistics indicate that there are between 3150 and 3686 stillbirths each year in England and Wales at an incidence rate of 5.1 stillbirths per 1000 births. www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/birth-statistics–england-and-wales–series-fm1-/no–37–2008/birth-statistics-series-fm1.pdf