Scotland highest in UK for avoidable child deaths

Written by Tom Freeman on 22 February 2019 in News

Warning for Scottish Government over avoidable infant deaths

Child with teddy - Holyrood

Scotland now has the highest rate of avoidable deaths among infants and children in the UK, according to new data from the Office of National Statistics.

The 2017 stats include victims of violence, accidents and birth defects linked with toxins such as smoking and alcohol.

It is the first time the rate in Scotland has been higher than Northern Ireland, although the rate is lower than it was in 2016.

In Scotland, there were 218 avoidable deaths in the 0-19 age group in 2017. That translates to an avoidable mortality rate of 19 per 100,000 population compared to 9.6 in England or 10.3 in Wales, and 18.1 in Northern Ireland.

It is much higher among boys, with 135 of the cases male and 83 female.

Responding to the figures, Professor Russell Viner, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, called for investment in health visitors and public health budgets.

“With the highest avoidable mortality rates in the UK, the Scottish Government in particular, has an important job to do,” he said.

“Scottish Government is certainly moving in the right direction following the announcement of a series of commitments aimed at tackling child poverty and obesity.

“However, despite recommending a Scotland-wide child death review process to be implemented over four years ago, this is yet to actually be established.

“Scottish Government must move forward with this promise to help reverse this worrying trend.”

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