Babies born in English hospitals are more likely to die if they are delivered at weekends rather than weekdays, a new study has revealed.
According to Imperial College London, the death rate is seven per cent higher at weekends, with around 7.1 deaths per 1,000 babies on Saturdays and Sundays.
Researchers acknowledged that the death rates are fairly low, but said the disparity between weekdays and weekends is significant and a matter of concern.
A spokeswoman for NHS England pointed out that most mothers believe the maternity care they get from the NHS is "excellent".
However, she accepted this is not the case for a small number of families, which means it is "vital that we take every step to continuously improve quality and safety".
"We have commissioned a wider independent review of NHS maternity services, which will assess how best we can respond to England's growing birth rate and the need for well-staffed and safe services that give mums more say over their care," the spokeswoman said.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists added that the findings highlight the need to identify the possible causes of higher death rates at weekends.
Dr David Richmond, president of the body, said this is necessary to ensure that women are receiving "high-quality care at any given day of the week".