UK children are at a higher risk of premature death than their Western European counterparts due to the growing gap between rich and poor and a lack of targeted public health policies to reduce child deaths, finds a new report from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and the National Children’s Bureau (NCB), launched today.
Every year, an estimated 2,000 additional children– that’s 5 a day – die in the UK compared to the best performing country, Sweden.
The report, Why Children Die, written by Dr Ingrid Wolfe and other leading child health experts, including Michael Marmot*, finds that many of the causes of child death – including perinatal deaths and suicides, disproportionally affect the most disadvantaged in society, and says that many child deaths could be prevented through a combination of societal changes, political engagement and improved training for children’s healthcare professionals.
Why Children Die reviewed existing UK evidence on child deaths and their causes, and found that:
The report highlights the importance of access to high quality healthcare for children and young people, calling for a reduction in preventable deaths through better training of healthcare professionals to enable confident, competent, early identification and treatment of illness, and better use of tools such as epilepsy passports, asthma plans and coordinated care between hospitals and schools.