Infant mortality

Summary

Infant mortality is an indicator of the general health of an entire population. It reflects the relationship between causes of infant mortality and upstream determinants of population health such as economic, social and environmental conditions. Deaths occurring during the first 28 days of life (the neonatal period) in particular, are considered to reflect the health and care of both mother and newborn.

Reducing infant mortality overall and the gap between the richest and poorest groups are part of the Government's strategy for public health (Health Lives, Healthy People: Our Strategy for Public Health November 2010).

Key findings

  • Between 2009-11 and 2013-15, Lancashire-12 area's infant mortality rate (per 1,000 live births) remained significantly worse than the England rate.
  • The most recently published figures (2014-16) show Lancashire-12 area's (4.5) infant mortality rate to be similar to the England rate (3.9).
  • Across the Lancashire-14 area, in Burnley (6.8) the infant mortality rate is significantly worse than the England rate. It is, however, important to note that fluctuations within these rates are to be expected due to the small number of infant deaths involved.
  • Between 2013-15 and 2014-16, the Lancashire-12 area (2%), overall, as well as Blackburn with Darwen (8%) and Blackpool (17%) have experienced a reduction in their infant mortality rates; England's rate remained unchanged.
  • Between 2013-15 and 2014-16 the districts of Preston (48%) and Hyndburn (33%) experienced an increase in their infant mortality rates; despite this increase both districts' infant mortality rates remain similar to the England rate.
  • In Blackpool (4.2), Blackburn with Darwen (3.0) and the Lancashire-12 area overall (2.9), the 2013-15 neonatal mortality rate (number of deaths under 28 days, per 1,000 live births) is similar to the England rate (2.7).
  • NHS East Lancashire CCG's neonatal mortality rate (3.9) is significantly higher than the England rate whereas NHS Greater Preston CCG's (1.3) neonatal mortality rate is significantly better than the England rate.

Lancashire-12 area's poor performance on a range of indicators of the health of pregnant women and babies, and the impact this has on the families and children for the rest of their lives, means that partners in the area should ensure that improving maternal and infant health is a priority. Joint working at a strategic level would maximise improvements in this area.

The safer sleep for baby campaign aims to raise awareness of safer sleeping for babies and focuses on six easy steps for parents/carers to follow to make sleep safer, and potentially reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (cot death).

Monitoring infant deaths remains a priority and the Child Death Overview Panel 2015-2016 annual report provides information on trends and patterns in the deaths reviewed in the last reporting year (2015-2016) and on all deaths since the panel began in 2008, across Lancashire-14. 

For further information Public Health England's Mortality section presents data on deaths during pregnancy and childhood and includes infant mortality and stillbirths profiles.

Further analysis and data

Infant and perinatal mortality in Lancashire-14 (XLSX 36 KB)

Page updated January 2018