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A third of stillbirths in Cwm Taf maternity units 'could have been prevented', review finds

A third of stillbirths at two south Wales hospitals could have been prevented with better care or treatment, an investigation has concluded.

It emerged two years ago that more than 60 women suffered the heartbreak of a stillbirth at at the Royal Glamorgan, Llantrisant, and Prince Charles Hospital, Merthyr Tydfil, and that many of these were never reported or investigated.

An independent panel set up by the Welsh Government to oversee improvements in these maternity units has now concluded that many of these babies could have been saved.

It looked at whether the care provided to women and their babies between January 2016 and September 2018 fell below the standards expected. The failures were split into different levels of severity, known in the report as "modifiable factors".

Their investigation looked at 63 stillbirths between January 1, 2016, and September 30, 2018, and discovered that 21 (33%) of them had at least one "major modifiable factor", meaning the stillbirth could potentially have been avoided.

More than half (59%) of the 63 had at least one "minor modifiable factor" while in three-quarters (76%) of them "wider learning" was required. In only four of the 63 stillbirths the panel found no modifiable factors.

The panel also discovered that "areas for learning" were identified in 59 of the 63 episodes of care reviewed.

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Source: Wales Online, 5 October 2021

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