The death of any baby is profoundly painful for families and for a baby to reach labour at the end of pregnancy and yet to suffer harm that might have been avoided, is a devastating and life-changing tragedy.

The numbers in the Each Baby Counts (EBC) report today are shocking, showing that in three out of four cases different care might have prevented harm or death: that has impacted the lives of around 550 babies. And that’s only a portion of deaths and injuries that EBC has been able to look at. In a further 409 cases, we can’t tell anything about the quality of care because the information simply isn’t good enough.

Clea Harmer (CEO of Sands, Stillbirth and neonatal death charity), said: “I am deeply shocked by this unacceptable rate of harm to babies in labour. The failure to carry out thorough reviews of what happened is inexcusable and must change.

“Judging by the quality of reviews done many parents are not getting clear answers about events leading up to the death or harm of their baby. It’s essential that parents’ perspectives of their care are part of the lesson learning process: parents remember, often with searing clarity, the events surrounding their baby’s delivery and their version of events and questions must be taken seriously.

“The facts in this report are deeply concerning. It is essential the crucial recommendations for reviewing and improving care are implemented and we urge trusts, health boards and governments across the UK to ensure the levels of support and resourcing needed to bring this about urgently.”

Read more from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Each Baby Counts initiative: Teamwork in maternity units key to reducing baby deaths and brain injuries during childbirth