UK Infant Mortality Could Be More Than Double Other Western Nations in a Decade

The Associated Press
AP Photo/Joerg Sarbach

Infant deaths in England and Wales could be 138 percent higher than similarly developed countries by 2030, the Royal College of Paediatrics has warned.

Infant mortality figures have increased for two years in a row after a near-century of decline, and currently stands at 3.8 per 1,000 births — more than 30 percent higher than average for Western nations, according to a report published Monday.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health predicts that infant deaths could more than double in 12 years’ time compared to the top 15 richest European Union nations, plus Norway, Canada, and Australia (EU15+).

The report also adds that even if the decline resumes its previous 100-year rate, infant mortality would still be 80 percent more than that of the EU15+.

Report author and president of the RCPCH Russell Viner said factors in the rise included poverty, obesity, and low rates of breastfeeding, explaining: “Child poverty is predicted to increase over the next decade, which, if true, may make our predictions under-estimates. Children living in poverty are more likely to be obese, have mental health issues and die early.”

The college also pointed to failings in the National Health Service (NHS) for “preventable causes of death including common infections and chronic respiratory conditions (e.g. asthma)”.

In addition, the RCPCH has pushed for more state interference to cut childhood obesity by recommending that school nurses weigh children annually from the ages of two to 18, while The Guardian revealed that all flour in the UK is to be fortified with folic acid to reduce risks of birth defects.

The Nuffield Trust’s June report How Good Is the NHS? found the service had a higher than average rate for newborn infant mortality as well as being third worst out of 18 Western countries for treating life-threatening illnesses.

New mothers in the United Kingdom were also found to have “among the shortest average length of stay [in hospital] for childbirth” at 1.5 days, compared with an average of 2.7 days for other comparable countries.

In August, Breitbart London reported on an NHS hospital where as many as 60 newborns and mothers may have suffered injury or died as a result of failings at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Hospital Trust.

With complaints stretching back nearly 20 years and some deaths and injuries already under investigation, the scandal may be the UK’s deadliest failure in a maternity unit.

The NHS has been criticised for its care of patients literally from cradle to grave after it was found that Gosport Memorial Hospital had “institutionalised [the] practice of shortening lives” by administering fatal doses of opioids to elderly, healthy patients, resulting in the deaths of 456 people over a twenty-year period.

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