Britain has 2,000 preventable child deaths

March 30, 2013 at 1:59 AM   |   0 comments

LONDON, March 30 (UPI) -- Each year there are 2,000 preventable deaths in children age 14 and under in Britain -- the worst number among 14 European countries, researchers say.

A study, published in The Lancet, found if all countries in the European Union 15 could reduce their child mortality to that of Sweden, more than 6,000 excess deaths could have been prevented in 2010, the Daily Telegraph reported.

Researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said the study was based on child mortality data from 15 leading EU nations produced last year by the World Health Organization.

Study leader Martin McKee said it exposed "striking inequalities" in children's healthcare across the 15 countries.

France, the second worst performing country, recorded 962 more child deaths than Sweden -- less than half the British figure.

When figures were adjusted to account for a country's size Britain still performed worse than virtually every other country in the study, with 47.73 deaths per 100,000 children each year. Only Belgium had a worse rate with 47.77 deaths per 100,000 children annually. However, in Sweden the total was 29.27 deaths per 100,000 children.

The report revealed little cooperation among organizations led to worse healthcare. The Swedish system was praised for the closeness with which physicians, pediatricians and children's nurses worked together, while in Britain the system was "more segregated" and fragmented.

In addition, Swedish doctors were typically given at least three months training in child health but many British doctors were given no specific pediatric training after they graduated, the study said.

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