Over 80% of the babies reported to Each Baby Counts fall into one of two categories: babies who die within the first 7 days of life, and those who sustain a severe brain injury.
As the majority of these babies will have received neonatal care, it is important to examine this aspect of care alongside the midwifery and obstetric care given in these instances.
The total number of babies who are admitted to a neonatal unit each year is around 95 000,[i] and the specialist reviewers have therefore assessed a very small proportion of the care given to sick babies. The reviews that have been looked at by the specialist reviewers have been highlighted as requiring review by a neonatal expert by other Each Baby Counts reviewers. The care of these babies should therefore be considered in this context. It is to be noted that the requirement for a neonatal reviewer was highlighted by the midwife and/or obstetric reviewer in only 13% of the babies reported to Each Baby Counts.
It must be reiterated that because of the nature of neonatal brain injury, the long-term outcome for many of these babies reported to Each Baby Counts remains unknown. Any neurodevelopmental impact which may lead to ill health from these early life brain injuries will become clearer as survivors progress through early childhood and the severity of their injury can then be adequately assessed. The Each Baby Counts programme does not have access to the long-term follow-up data for these infants in order to assess their long-term health.
[i] Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) on behalf of the NNAP Project Board. National Neonatal Audit Programme 2016 Annual Report on 2015 Data. London: RCPCH; 2016 [http://www.rcpch.ac.uk/system/files/protected/page/NNAP%202016%20Annual%20Report%20on%202015%20data%20-%20For%20NNAP%20website.pdf].