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Infant mortality - full report

A new report has found that infant mortality rates in Cumbria are well below the national average, but the NHS says things can still be improved.

In the south of the county there are serious problems with maternity services at the hospital in Barrow, but as a whole this report is being seen as good news. And it mirrors similar positive results in Scotland.

This is John Bevir's report.


NHS Cumbria says 'more can be done' on stillbirths and infant mortality

A report has found that although the number of stillbirths and infant mortality cases in Cumbria are declining, more can still be done to prevent deaths.

The NHS Cumbria report shows the county has fewer perinatal deaths than the national average, but urges local hospitals and expectant mothers to help reduce the number further.

The research panel have recommended that tackling lifestyle issues such as smoking and obesity can help give the mother and child the best chance of survival.

They also suggest that local hospitals carry out more individual case reviews in order to learn from what has happened.

"The number of babies in Cumbria who die shortly before or soon after birth is a tiny proportion of 5,000 births which take place in the county each year.

"The findings from this research are clear in demonstrating the damaging and destructive impact a poor lifestyle can have on a healthy pregnancy. More must be done to reduce smoking and obesity in particular, if we are to see greater improvements in the health of mothers and babies."

– Professor John Ashton, Cumbria Medical Director