High number of stillbirths is being reviewed

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A review of 24 stillbirths is being carried out by NHS Forth Valley after the deaths rose above the national average in the first half of 2016.

The majority of the stillbirths occurred at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert.

The health board said the review had not identified “any significant issues or concerns” to date.

It is now arranging an independent external review.

A spokesperson for NHS Forth Valley said: “We monitor the level of stillbirths closely and, as the number in the first half of 2016 was higher than the national average, we took the decision to carry out an internal review.

“Although the total number of stillbirths in 2016 was higher than the previous year, the numbers fell consistently throughout the second half of the year during which time they were similar to previous years.

“The number of stillbirths in Forth Valley has also been consistently below the national average during the previous five years.”

The health board said a number of the cases being reviewed occurred outwith the hospital.

It said: “Stillbirths can be caused by many different factors including accidents, such as falls and trauma-related injuries, fetal abnormalities, genetic and medical conditions.

“Despite medical advances it is not always possible to predict or prevent stillbirths, however it is important to look at the circumstances surrounding each individual case.

“The review to date has not identified any significant issues or concerns and we are committed to the ongoing delivery of high-quality, safe and effective maternity care.”