to think that the UK child death rate is appalling

(14 Posts)
hotcrosshunny Fri 02-May-14 14:05:27

I read this www.theguardian.com/society/2014/may/02/uk-child-death-rate-western-europe-health?commentpage=1

which says our child death rate is the second highest in western europe.

I'm not using it as a stick to beat the NHS with by the way.

This is pretty sad IMO

Shakshuka Fri 02-May-14 16:04:49

Five deaths per 1,000 live births isnt appalling. It could be lower but it's not appallingly highloo. Western europe already has one of the lowest child mortality rates in the world.

Few additional deaths would have been prevented even with huge investment in the nhs. The problem is broader and involves social issues like deprivation, adolescent childbearing and income inequality. Its not the nhs.

FreeSpirit89 Fri 02-May-14 16:04:59

Terrible. But unfortunately that's life, it's not always pleasant nor kind.

In an ideal world no parent should have to bury there child.hmm

And the nhs are (for the most part) quite good with children's health x

ikeaismylocal Fri 02-May-14 16:08:44

It is so strange that the death rates are nearly the highest in western Europe especially considering how safety conscious tge UK is with small children.

wonkylegs Fri 02-May-14 16:25:43

It doesn't look as alarming if you look at the actual figures rather than the article.
The UK is 5/1000 as is Spain, Canada and Australia. New Zealand is 6/1000.
France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands are all 4/1000
USA is 7/1000
I agree that 1 is too many but it's not as awful as it sounds in context.
Reference figures here

KatraAllandra Fri 02-May-14 16:29:29

The reasons for this are probably complex and it's hard to read too much into it without knowing exactly what the causes of death are.

For example, how many children are born in the UK with serious medical conditions which will result in an early death, who would not have been born alive in other countries?

I'd be very interested to see stats comparing avoidable and unavoidable deaths across Europe.

I'm not suggesting things couldn't be improved in the UK but that we need more information about the reasons for our apparently poor results before we can make meaningful changes.

Bunbaker Fri 02-May-14 16:31:13

Interesting fact alert

When pregnant women started being cared for by trained midwives the infant mortality rate was higher for the upper classes because they still insisted on using doctors rather than midwives.

Shakshuka Fri 02-May-14 16:51:48

Also, if you look at the original article, you can see the confidence intervals around the figures
Lancet article

So for the UK, the confidence interval is 4-6 deaths per 1,000 births and for Western Europe as a whole it's 3.3-4.7. In other words, the confidence intervals overlap so the differences in child mortality between the UK and the rest of Western Europe are not statistically significant and could be attributed to random error.

I think it's a storm in a teacup and clearly the figures are being misused for political purposes. Obviously, any child death is a tragedy, especially preventable ones, but the UK is really not doing badly at all comparatively.

Bunbaker Fri 02-May-14 16:58:21

I think Katra makes a valid point about children being born with serious medical conditions.

sparechange Fri 02-May-14 17:02:19

Bunbaker
That is an interesting theory alert
And it precisely because so many people are happy to link to events and call it 'fact' that we have such a national obsession with health scare stories

Bunbaker Fri 02-May-14 17:09:49

I read that fact at the Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds the other week and found it interesting.

BillyBanter Fri 02-May-14 17:15:34

As said, it is not statistically significant so YABU.

5 out of 1000 is actually very good. That's no comfort for anyone who does lose a child, of course.

wowfudge Fri 02-May-14 17:17:44

There are places where the death rate is far, far higher. And in Zimbabwe life expectancy is something like 36.

Shakshuka Fri 02-May-14 17:42:15

Exactly - what's appalling is that in countries like Mali and Chad nearly 150 children die per 1,000 births and the vast majority of these deaths are entirely preventable - not statistically insignificant differences between countries in one of the best performing region in the world.

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