Government vows to cut child deaths
A new national pledge to reduce child deaths is due to be announced by the Government.
New measures include increasing data so the NHS and local authorities can get hold of better information to improve the health of young people, and a survey to generate details of local health problems such as drug and alcohol use will be piloted.
New colour coded health maps also mean doctors and nurses will be able to look at local health trends for conditions like asthma and diabetes.
The all-cause mortality rate for children aged between 0 and 14 years has moved from the average to amongst the worst in Europe, figures show, while more than a quarter (26%) of children's deaths showed "identifiable failure in the child's direct care".
The pledge is part of the Government's response to the Children and Young People's Health Outcomes Forum which was set up to identify the health issues that matter most to young people in January last year.
Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said: "For too long, Britain's childhood mortality rates have been amongst the worst in Europe when compared to similar countries.
"In particular, there is unacceptable variation across the country in the quality of care for children - for example in the treatment of long-term conditions such as asthma and diabetes.
"I am determined that children and young people should be put at the heart of the new health and social care system. Too often in the past children's health has been an afterthought.
"The pledge that we are making today demonstrates how all parts of the system will play their part and work together to improve children's health. There is already a lot of good work going on but we want the NHS to do even more to improve care for children and young people and reduce the mortality rate."
The pledge commits signatories to put children, young people and families at the heart of decision making and could include asking them to carry out actions such as investigating why there are lower survival rates for children with certain conditions in different areas and taking action to make improvements.