Bournemouth University research exposes the "scandal" of excess deaths in children aged 0-14 in the UK linked to the UK having the third worst income inequality and the joint lowest funded health care provision by percentage of GDP in the Western world
UK Child-Mortality-Rates (CMR) for children aged 0-14 were compared with 20 other Western countries between 1979-2010
Countries such as Austria, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain had child death rates higher in 1979 than the UK's. They now all have substantially lower rates.
If the UK had the same average rate of the 17 countries with lower CMR, then there would have been 1,827 fewer child deaths in 2010.
UK child deaths fell by 62% over the period whereas the average for all the countries in the survey was 66%.
Professor Colin Pritchard who led the research said: "The poverty aspect is a matter of shame, as the five countries with the highest CMR also have the worst income inequality, including the UK, whilst the four countries with the lowest child deaths have the least poverty.
"Scandal is not usually a term used by academics but this study should be a wake-up call for society as the excess in British child mortality is an indictment of one of the richest but most unequal countries in the world."
Over this period Britain's NHS was the third joint lowest funded health service in terms of percentage of GDP spent. Greece, Italy, Portugal spend proportionately more of their wealth on health and have lower deaths than the UK.
Professor Pritchard added: "In terms of cost-effectiveness in reducing deaths, the NHS was the 8th best so you cannot blame the NHS, who achieve more with relatively less."
- Pritchard C & Wallace MS. Comparing UK and Other Western countries Health Expenditure, Poverty and Child Mortality: Are British children doubly disadvantaged? Children & Society, June 2014 DOI: 10:1111/ CHSO12079
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