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Hundreds of babies die each year due to poor investment in health services and research

Hundreds of babies a year could be dying due to poor investment in health services and research, according to a charity.

Stillbirth and neonatal death organisation Sands said an average of 17 babies are stillborn or die shortly after birth in the UK every day

But it said better resources for maternity and neo-natal services, along with the creation of a national research strategy, would save a 'significant percentage' of these infants.

The charity's Saving Babies' Lives Report 2009 said: 'Maternity services in the UK are under considerable strain from lack of resources and funding and there is strong evidence to suggest that this is contributing to baby deaths.

'A serious lack of direct funding for scientific research to understand and prevent stillbirths is holding back progress that could be made in reducing the numbers of deaths.'

The charity is now calling on ministers to consider baby deaths as a 'major health issue', adding though there was currently no reliable way to identify risk and maternity care resources were not sufficient 'to ensure optimal care for every baby', there was also "no political will to make things change".

Deputy general secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, Louise Silverton, said some midwives were getting frustrated because they are not getting the time with women that they need.

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