A spike in neonatal death rates is to be reviewed, the Scottish Government has announced. 

The Herald previously reported alarms were sounded after 18 infants died within four weeks of birth in March. 

It saw the mortality rate to breach an upper warning threshold or 'control limit', which was also seen in September of 2021 when 21 neonatal deaths were registered. 

Healthcare Improvement Scotland has been commissioned to lead the review into increase in deaths of newly born infants. 

The review will cover all reported deaths across Scotland between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022 to find out if there is anything that may have contributed to the increase.

Anything identified will feed into recommendations and actions to improve the quality of care for mothers and babies.

Public Health Minister Maree Todd said: “Every death is a tragedy for the families involved. That is why earlier this year I committed to this review to find out if there is a reason for the increase.

“I appreciate how difficult this time is for anyone affected and I would encourage them to access support if they wish to do so.

“There is information about organisations and help available on the National Bereavement Care Pathways Scotland as well as the Scottish Government website.”

Once the review team is formed it is expected it will take no longer than six to nine months to complete the work.

Neonatal mortality is defined as the death of a baby within four weeks of birth.

The review will not duplicate any matters which are, or have been, the subject of other review, investigation or audit processes.