Responding to the latest National Child Mortality Database figures published on 9 November, Dr Habib Naqvi, CEO of the NHS Race and Health Observatory said:
“Neonatal mortality presents one of the starkest examples of racial health inequalities in England. The latest statistics – showing Black babies being almost three times more likely to die than White babies – with a surge in death rates over the last year – are scandalous and must be tackled head-on.
“We have known for some time that in addition to higher maternal mortality rates, women from Black and minority ethnic groups are also at greater risk than their White counterparts of having their pregnancies result in pre-term birth, stillbirth, neonatal death, or a baby born with low birth weight.
“It’s in response to such data that the NHS Race and Health Observatory has established a comprehensive programme of work to tackle racial inequalities in maternal and neonatal health.
“Our recommendations report launched at the House of Commons in July 2023 outlined the clear need to eliminate racial bias in neonatal assessment and practice in Black, Asian and minority ethnic newborns. Earlier this week, we brought together key national bodies who have agreed to take forward our review recommendations.
“We are also launching a new Learning Action Network. The Network will take an anti-racism approach to Quality Improvement – to drive clinical transformation in maternal and neonatal outcomes and enable system-wide change in 10 healthcare systems across the country. The aim here is to learn, scale up and spread good practice. The Network will officially launch in January 2024.”