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NHS England/NHS Improvement. The NHS long term plan. 2019. (accessed 3 November 2021)

Child death and deprivation

11 November 2021
Volume 30 · Issue 20

A nation's health is defined primarily by how a society is organised and how well it performs. Those measures that establish a nation's health include the average life span and how well vulnerable members of society—including babies, children and young people—are safeguarded from the things that can be detrimental to their health and wellbeing.

In 2019, the UK under-5 mortality rate was the second highest in Western Europe (National Child Mortality Database, 2021). This is a most odious reality that we should all own—not ‘they’, whoever ‘they’ may be, but ‘we’. In a rich society such as ours there should be no such thing as avoidable infant and child deaths. Infant mortality is a very reliable gauge of the outcomes of the social determinants of health. Those children who grow up in poverty will experience worse physical and mental health than their affluent friends. Deprivation is killing children in the UK.

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