(ThePatriotWire)- Earlier this year, the Scottish government ordered an into the alarming number of newborn baby deaths in Scotland after the country experienced two unusual spikes in neonatal deaths in a six-month period that led to infant mortality rates that were far higher than the average.
The first spike in neonatal deaths occurred in September 2021 when at least 21 babies died. Another spike in deaths occurred in March 2022 when at least 18 newborns under 4 weeks died.
A preliminary investigation into the September 2021 spike concluded that the increase in deaths was not linked to COVID-19.
The investigation will be conducted by Healthcare Improvement Scotland and is expected to take between six to nine months. The group will review all reported baby deaths between April 2021 and March 2022.
The average mortality rate among newborns in Scotland is around 2 deaths per 1,000 births. However, the 21 neonatal deaths in September of last year amounted to a mortality rate of 4.9 per 1,000 births while the 18 deaths in March led to a mortality rate of 4.6 per 1,000 births.
Scottish Public Health Minister Marie Todd committed to the review earlier this year to find out if there is a reason for the two spikes in the death rate. She said if the investigation identifies any reason, the Public Health Ministry would take whatever appropriate steps were needed to improve the quality of care for both the mothers and the newborns.
In June, it was reported that the overall infant mortality rate for last year had risen to 3.9 per 1,000 live births, up from 3.1 per 1,000 births in 2020.
Those figures are the highest annual death rate recorded in Scotland in the last ten years for babies under the age of one.