Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Release Date
3304.0 - Perinatal Deaths, Australia, 2008 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/04/2010   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

TECHNICAL NOTE 1 PERINATAL DEATHS PROCESS IMPROVEMENT


INTRODUCTION

1 Perinatal deaths comprise all fetal deaths (of at least 20 weeks gestation or at least 400 grams birth weight), and all neonatal deaths (all live born babies who die within 28 completed days of birth, regardless of gestation or birth weight). Fetal deaths are only included in the perinatal deaths collection. However, neonatal deaths are included in both the perinatal deaths and the causes of death collections.

2 In order to complete a perinatal death registration, the death must be certified by either a doctor using the Certificate of Cause of Perinatal Death, or by a coroner. It is the role of the coroner to investigate the circumstances surrounding all reportable deaths and to establish wherever possible the circumstances surrounding the death, and the cause(s) of death. For perinatal deaths, most deaths due to external causes and suspected Sudden Infant Death Syndrome will be referred to a coroner for investigation.

3 Table 1 shows the proportion of perinatal deaths certified by a doctor or a coroner. In 2008, 4.4% (109) of all perinatal deaths were certified by a coroner rather than by a doctor.

Table 1: Deaths by type of Certifier and state/territory of registration - 2007 and 2008(a)

Doctor (2007)
Coroner (2007)
Total (2007)(b)
Doctor (2008)
Coroner (2008)
Total (2008)(b)
no.
%
no.
%
no.
no.
%
no.
%
no.

NSW
737
97.5
19
2.5
756
731
95.1
38
4.9
769
Vic.
605
97.9
13
2.1
618
560
96.6
20
3.4
580
Qld
610
93.0
31
4.7
656
602
95.9
26
4.1
628
SA
126
94.0
8
6.0
134
129
97.7
4
3.0
132
WA
194
98.0
4
2.0
198
248
95.4
12
4.6
260
Tas.
55
94.8
4
6.9
58
58
95.1
4
6.6
61
NT
52
98.1
3
5.7
53
29
87.9
1
3.0
33
ACT
58
98.3
1
1.7
59
35
92.1
1
2.6
38
Australia
2 437
96.2
80
3.2
2 532
2 392
95.6
109
4.4
2 501

(a) Data cells with small values have been randomly assigned to protect the confidentiality of individuals. As a result, some totals will not equal the sum of their components. It is important to note that cells with a zero value have not been affected by confidentialisation.
(b) Total includes 'blank', 'not stated' and 'not applicable'.


4 When coronial investigations are complete, causes of death information is passed to the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages, as well as to the National Coroners Information System (NCIS). The ABS uses the NCIS as the only source of data to code coroner certified deaths. Where a case remains open on the NCIS at the time the ABS ceases processing and insufficient information is available to code a cause of death (e.g. a coroner certified death was yet to be finalised by the coroner), less specific ICD codes are assigned as required by the ICD coding rules.


PROCESS IMPROVEMENT

5 The specificity with which open cases are able to be allocated an ICD-10 code is directly related to the amount and type of information available on the NCIS. The amount of information available for open cases varies considerably from no information to detailed police, autopsy and toxicology reports.

6 For 2008, increased resources and time were spent investigating coroners reports to identify specific causes of death. This involved making increased use of police reports, toxicology reports, autopsy reports and coroners findings for both open and closed cases to minimise the use of non-specific causes and intents. This has resulted in improved data quality enabling more specificity in assigning cause codes to coroner certified deaths.

7 In 2008, there were 63 (58%) perinatal cases with an open or not stated case status on NCIS which may not have had information available at the time of processing. However, all open cases were subject to the new process improvement and use was made of any available police reports, toxicology reports, autopsy reports or coroners findings. On a jurisdictional level, the proportion of cases which have a status of open on the NCIS varies. This means that the impact of the new process improvement has varied across states and territories.

8 For 2007 revised data, there were 35 (44%) perinatal cases with a status of 'open' or 'other' on NCIS which have not yet been subject to the process improvement. These cases will go through this process as part of the next revisions process. See Technical Note 2: Revisions Process for further information.

Table 2: Coroner certified perinatal deaths, by case status and state of registration - 2007 and 2008(a)

Open
Closed
Other(b)
Total

2008

New South Wales
11
25
3
38
Victoria
13
6
4
20
Queensland
12
2
12
26
Other states and territories(c)
10
13
2
25
Australia
46
46
17
109

2007

New South Wales
4
14
2
19
Victoria
7
6
-
13
Queensland
5
14
12
31
Other states and territories(c)
6
11
-
17
Australia
22
45
13
80

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) Data cells with small values have been randomly assigned to protect the confidentiality of individuals. As a result, some totals will not equal the sum of their components. It is important to note that cells with a zero value have not been affected by confidentialisation.
(b) 'Other' includes cases with status of 'blank', 'not stated' and 'not applicable'.
(c) 'Other states and territories' includes South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory.


9 Further information on the impact of process improvements to 2008 causes of death data can be found in Technical Note 1: 2008 COD Collection - Process Improvements in Causes of Death, Australia, 2008 (3303.0).


Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window

Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.