Maternal and newborn deaths: new team appointed for historic programme

The Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) has appointed MBRRACE-UK (Mothers and Babies – Reducing Risk through Audits and Confidential Enquiries across the UK) to run the national Maternal, Newborn and Infant Clinical Outcomes Review Programme, effective immediately.

MBRRACE-UK is a collaboration with members from the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit (NPEU) at Oxford University and the universities of Leicester, Liverpool and Birmingham, University College London, Imperial College London, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity Sands and an Oxford-based GP.

Almost one in 100 UK births leads to a stillbirth or newborn death and up to 100 women die each year during or just after pregnancy. The programme will investigate the deaths of women and their babies during or after childbirth, and also cases where women and their babies survive serious illness during pregnancy or after childbirth. The aim is to identify avoidable illness and deaths so the lessons learned can be used to prevent similar cases in the future leading to improvements in maternal and newborn care for all mothers and babies. 

The programme incorporates the Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths (CEMD, established in 1952). CEMD is recognised as having led to major improvements in the health and care of women and their babies and was most recently carried out by the Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries (CMACE).

MBRRACE-UK will be led from the Oxford University’s National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit (NPEU) and will build on existing research projects, including the UK Obstetric Surveillance System (UKOSS) led by Professor Marian Knight at the NPEU, and The Infant Mortality and Morbidity Studies (TIMMS) group led by Professors Elizabeth Draper and David Field at the University of Leicester. Professor Jenny Kurinczuk at the NPEU is leading the new MBRRACE-UK team.

Professor Kurinczuk said: “It is a privilege to be taking forward this work into a new era. The previous work, most particularly the Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Death, has contributed to significant improvements in the health and care of pregnant women and their babies, yet there are still improvements in health and care to be made.”

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