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Prevention of postneonatal mortality.
  1. R J Madeley,
  2. D Hull,
  3. T Holland


    Studies of postneonatal mortality in Nottingham between 1974 and 1977 showed a familiar pattern of high death rates in socially deprived parts of the city. A birth scoring system was devised, which identified at birth 9% of infants in whom 53% of postneonatal deaths could be expected to occur From 1 January 1978 this group was identified by midwives and followed up intensively by health visitors. The postneonatal mortality in the city of Nottingham fell from 8.7/1000 live births in 1974 to 3.6/1000 in 1981. It was not possible, however, to show that the rate of improvement after the introduction of the birth scoring system was greater than the trend present before its introduction. The causes of postneonatal death, and their geographical and seasonal distribution, were similar in 1978-81 and 1974-77, despite an absolute fall in numbers. By 1981 the important risk factors were either recorded on the birth notification or known to the health visitor in any case. Although nurse managers and most health visitors have found the scheme useful in other respects--for example, resource allocation--it was considered that these could be achieved without a formal scoring system. Therefore, the birth scoring system was stopped at the end of March 1985. Health visitors are still being encouraged to pay more attention to high risk cases as a part of normal clinical practice.

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