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Babies born outside of working hours more likely to die, says study

Published on 19/07/2010
Out of hours staff shortages at NHS hospitals mean that children born at night or on the weekend have a lower chance of surviving than those born during working hours, it has been suggested.

Researchers from Cambridge and Glasgow universities analysed data from more than one million births in Scotland over two decades.

They found that that for mothers giving birth during the normal working week (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday), the risk of their baby dying was 4.2 per 10,000.

This compared to a mortality rate of 5.6 per 10,000 at all other times.

In particular, these deaths were linked to intrapartum anoxia - lack of oxygen during the birth which leaves the baby unable to breathe.

One in four such deaths was directly associated with the risk of being born out of hours.

"Improving the level of clinical care for women delivering out of normal working hours might reduce overall rates of perinatal death," said the study, published in the British Medical Journal.

A recent report found that NHS accident and emergency departments have experienced a 12 per cent leap in admissions since GPs were given the right to opt out of working nights and weekends under a new contract implemented in 2004.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2010

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