The Glorious NHS: The Wonder Of The World

Hundreds of babies are dying needlessly every year because the NHS has a chaotic approach to preventing stillbirth, an investigation by The Times has found.

One in every 200 babies is born dead and almost a quarter of these deaths could be avoided, experts said. Yet mothers are left confused about the warning signs as the health service has failed to take the problem seriously enough and needs urgently to make prevention a priority.

Our investigation found that:

• Few hospitals have any plans to cut the rates of stillbirth, which are among the highest in the developed world;

Hmm.

Of the 98 units that replied, only six said that they had any specific plans. The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said it “does not have any in place and is not required to do so.”

National management by centralised target is just so effective, isn\’tit?

13 comments on “The Glorious NHS: The Wonder Of The World

  1. I thought it was a slightly strange article – it begins by ridiculing the ‘tape measure’ method and then spends the second half of the article saying that is the best way to reduce the number.

    Also don’t they call for more centralised direction in the article, not less?

  2. I’m sceptical that international comparisons tell us very much about the various health services. There are a lot of differences in how statistics are collected. And maternal age and health are important.

    Fwiw, the raw numbers show that France (by far) and Netherlands have the highest fetal mortality rates in Europe, and the Slovak Republic has the lowest rate. (The French figures include late terminations.)

  3. Why can’t you just be grateful for what you’re given? Besides, if you people just stopped carping and got behind it then it’d be fine.

  4. struggling to see how this is an example of how centralisation is a problem when in half of all cases, the cause of stillbirth is unknown?

    Also im sure i’ve seen that rates are higher among lower socioeconomic status populations. again why?

    Once research has established proven methods to reduce the incidence National guidance can be issued.

  5. Roym>

    The key sentence is:

    ‘The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said it “does not have any in place and is not required to do so”‘.

    That ‘not required to do so’ says that centralised control has suppressed initiative.

  6. Dave at 5 wins at whatever the opposite of logic is. “The fact that someone has failed to do a thing because they are not required to do it, means that requiring people to do things is a terrible idea”.

  7. @john b: it is a bad thing if people then refuse to do anything other than that which they are absolutely required to do so, even if the extra activity would be very beneficial to the overall aims of the organisation. Much in the way teachers used to help out with after school activities, but now refuse because its not in their contracts, or how doctors used to do home visits at all hours of day and night (my grandfather was such a GP) but now ‘work to rule’ because that’s all they are legally required to do.

  8. Dear Tim,

    No disrespect, mate, but doesn’t the fact that individual trusts failed to respond suggest that these issues arose from the policies pursued by individual trusts, and that the devolution of policy-making to trusts indicates that no entity called the ‘National Health Service’ can actually be said to exist?

  9. PaulB – “Fwiw, the raw numbers show that France (by far) and Netherlands have the highest fetal mortality rates in Europe, and the Slovak Republic has the lowest rate. (The French figures include late terminations.)”

    That must be a lot of late terminations. As it is hard to think of anything that would mean the excellent and expensive French and Dutch Health care systems would do so much worse than the post-Soviet wasteland that is the Slovak Republic. Cheating perhaps? Or, and I don’t like to sound like I am fixated on the subject, people in France and the Netherlands who marry their cousins too frequently? There must be some logical explanation for it.

    7Jim – “it is a bad thing if people then refuse to do anything other than that which they are absolutely required to do so, even if the extra activity would be very beneficial to the overall aims of the organisation.”

    Not merely refuse, but actually be prohibited from doing. You are asking to be sued if you don’t a stroke more than you have to. And your employer may not back you if you’re doing something outside your job requirement.

  10. The biggest single preventable cause of late stage fetal loss is gestational diabetes. This is commoner in overweight mothers. Are women of a reproductive age in the UK fatter than those with which they are being compared?

  11. “Or, and I don’t like to sound like I am fixated on the subject, people in France and the Netherlands who marry their cousins too frequently? There must be some logical explanation for it.”

    Fixated? You?
    I would say beyond parody.

  12. doctors used to do home visits at all hours of day and night (my grandfather was such a GP) but now ‘work to rule’ because that’s all they are legally required to do.

    After leaving the Army (& prior to returning to hospital medicine), my dad was a rural GP for a good decade and a half – back when weekend rounds often meant borrowing a farmer’s landy. Doesn’t happen now, of course – Serco, Virgin etc will just palm you off to the nearest NHS A&E, whether you are an appropriate admission or not… that’s if you even get to see a doctor in the first place. A nurse with a telephone is much cheaper to employ.

  13. Well, that comment really made an impact.

    I don’t know, you don’t comment on a blog for months, ‘respect everyone’s space’, all that stuff, then nobody bothers to answer you.

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