New research has shown that the UK has the highest child mortality rate in Western Europe. With a rate of 5.3 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, the UK is falling behind other rich countries when it comes to cutting the number of child mortalities.
International figures have revealed that child death in the UK, along with the USA, New Zealand and South Korea, has not reduced the number of child deaths as quickly as expected.
The figures, from a team at the University of Washington in Seattle, have prompted life insurance comparison site Quoteboffin.co.uk to speak out about its concerns. A spokesperson for the company explained:
“It is extremely concerning to see that the UK is lagging behind its counterparts. As one of the most developed countries in the world, it seems shocking to think that we are not able to quickly and significantly cut the number of child mortalities.
“To receive this information at a time when the NHS is at the focus of attention makes us hope that ensuring everyone gets the care they need is at the top of the agenda for ministers.”
The UK’s mortality rate saw the country fall from 10th in the global chart to the 33rd and the research also found that the decline in deaths in the under fives is reducing more quickly in poorer countries, according to The Lancet.
However, the BBC reports that the global child mortality rate has dropped from 11·9 million deaths in 1990 to an estimated 7·7 million deaths in 2010 in children under five. While the UK has continued to reduce mortality rates, by three quarters since 1970, a large number of other European countries have overtaken it.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health highlighted the fact that infant mortality is at the lowest rate ever in the UK, but there are still calls for the country to have a close look at neonatal and child care.
Life insurance comparison site Quoteboffin.co.uk is among those calling for increased efforts in the coming years. It said: “While the number of deaths does continue to fall, we believe is it not falling fast enough and would like to see assurances that money will continue to go towards research and medical care for threats to the health of infants.