Intended for healthcare professionals


What has happened to the UK Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths?

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 21 June 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e4147
  1. Andrew Shennan, professor of obstetrics,
  2. Susan Bewley, professor of complex obstetrics
  1. 1Women’s Academic Health Centre, King’s College London and King’s Health Partners, St Thomas’ Hospital, London SE1 7EH, UK
  1. andrew.shennan{at}

Following review a new consortium is charged with improving its output

On 13 June the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) in England and Wales announced that MBRRACE-UK (Mothers and Babies—Reducing Risk through Audits and Confidential Enquiries across the UK) had been appointed to run the national maternal, newborn, and infant clinical outcomes review programme, the latest incarnation of the Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths. MBRRACE-UK is a collaboration of members from the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit (NPEU) and several universities and charities, and it is now faced with improving the quality of this long running programme and making sure its future recommendations are more evidence based.

The Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths was the world’s longest running clinical audit, originating in the mid-19th century. Local health board audits in the 1920s became a national (England and Wales) three yearly report funded by the Ministry of Health in 1952.1 Its most recent purpose has been to monitor causes of maternal death, improve safety, and reduce mortality using a system of anonymised case records and regional and national assessors, with review, standardisation, and recommendations. The inquiry has engendered …

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