Infant mortality rate in England and Wales increases for the first time in five years: Bliss responds

Posted on July 18, 2018

The neonatal mortality rate increased in 2017, for the second consecutive year. Read Bliss' response to this news here.

New figures from the Office of National Statistics have revealed that the infant mortality rate in England and Wales has increased for the first time in five years.

The infant mortality rate increased from 3.9 to 4.0 deaths per 1,000 live births. The neonatal mortality rate also increased in 2017, for the second consecutive year, rising from 2.8 to 2.9 deaths per 1,000 live births.

This increase in the neonatal mortality rate is likely to be in correlation with the increasing number of extremely pre-term births (before 23 weeks gestation) being recorded over the last few years.

Chief Executive of Bliss Caroline Lee-Davey said: “It is deeply concerning to see a rise in the infant mortality rate for the first time in five years, which is particularly driven by an increase in the neonatal mortality rate of babies under 28 days’ old.

"Recent research has highlighted there are significant variations in infant mortality rates across the country [1], meaning there is much more to do to ensure that all health services are giving vulnerable babies the best chance of survival. We urge the Government to ensure there is sufficient investment in neonatal services, and that they commit to full delivery of the recommendations of the forthcoming NHS England Neonatal Critical Care Review, in order to increase every baby’s chance of survival and quality of life.”

Read the full report from ONS here.


[1] MBRRACE Perinatal Mortality Surveillance Report (June 2017)