Neonatal service reorganisation fails to iron out regional variation in death rates

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 19 June 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:1393
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. 1London

Five years after a major reorganisation of England’s neonatal services, large and unexplained variations between regions in mortality among neonates still exist, concludes a new report from the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee.

England’s 178 neonatal care units were ordered in 2003 to reorganise into 23 regional networks. But that reorganisation has failed to address discrepancies between regions; and two regions, Essex and the Northern, have still not formally merged into unified organisations after five years.

In 2005 the neonatal mortality rate among babies born at more than 22 weeks’ gestation varied from 1.8 deaths per 1000 live births in the Surrey and Sussex region …

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