Leading Children’s Charities Unite To Raise Concerns Over Threat To Child Mortality Data

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) consultation on statistical products closes today (31 October), and includes proposals to stop publishing data including the number of stillbirths, neonatal deaths, unexplained infant deaths and deaths from injuries and suicide.

 

In a letter printed in today’s Guardian, the charities say:

 

“We are gravely concerned at the possibility that annual data on child mortality rates in the UK, including the number of stillbirths, neonatal deaths, unexplained infant deaths and deaths from injuries and suicide, will no longer be published. This poses a real threat to improving the health of our children, particularly given that the UK has one of the worst child-mortality rates in Europe.

 

“Without this data we won’t know why children in the UK are dying. If we don’t know that, we can’t develop interventions to prevent these deaths. And without annual data, we won’t know whether any steps that are being taken are having a positive effect. The cost of producing each data set is said to be between £10,000 and £50,000 a year; a small price to pay for an invaluable measure of child health.”

 

Signatories to the letter are:

 

Dr Hilary Cass, President, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Francine Bates, Chief executive, The Lullaby Trust

Peter Wanless, Chief executive, NSPCC

Dr Hilary Emery, Chief executive, National Children’s Bureau

Jane van Zyl, Deputy chief executive, Sands

Andy Cole, Chief executive Bliss

Katrina Phillips, Chief executive, Child Accident Prevention Trust