Failure on sepsis sees UK child mortality ranking shame

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Delayed treatment for young British children with sepsis and pneumonia is driving one of the worst child mortality rates in Europe, figures suggest.

The UK sits 19th in a league table of 28 EU countries for under-five mortality – down from ninth in 1990.

A British child is twice as likely to die before their fifth birthday than one from Luxembourg or Finland.

Delayed treatment for young British children with sepsis and pneumonia is driving one of the worst child mortality rates in Europe, figures suggest. The UK sits 19th in a league table of 28 EU countries for under-five mortality ¿ down from ninth in 1990

Delayed treatment for young British children with sepsis and pneumonia is driving one of the worst child mortality rates in Europe, figures suggest. The UK sits 19th in a league table of 28 EU countries for under-five mortality – down from ninth in 1990

Experts believe that is because GPs and NHS call handlers are not specifically trained in child health, unlike doctors in other countries.

It means when a toddler has sepsis or another complex condition the symptoms are often missed. Now a major investigation is to examine why fatal delays occur and also focus on treatable infections which often lead to sepsis. More than 1,000 under-fives die with sepsis in Britain every year.

Equivalent sepsis data is not collected in other countries, but child death rates in Britain from meningococcal disease, a leading cause of sepsis, are five times worse than in Sweden, three times worse than France and twice as bad as Germany.

A British child is twice as likely to die before their fifth birthday than one from Luxembourg or Finland. Experts believe that is because GPs and NHS call handlers are not specifically trained in child health, unlike doctors in other countries

A British child is twice as likely to die before their fifth birthday than one from Luxembourg or Finland. Experts believe that is because GPs and NHS call handlers are not specifically trained in child health, unlike doctors in other countries

A British child is twice as likely to die before their fifth birthday than one from Luxembourg or Finland. Experts believe that is because GPs and NHS call handlers are not specifically trained in child health, unlike doctors in other countries

Pneumonia rates, another cause of sepsis, are also far higher among under-fives in Britain than other western European nations. The investigation launched today is in response to the deaths of William Mead and Sam Morrish, toddlers who died with sepsis after NHS failures.

The Mail’s End the Sepsis Scandal campaign started two years ago after the death of 12-month-old William in Cornwall.

NHS doctors repeatedly failed to spot he had sepsis, while workers on the 111 helpline mishandled a call from his mother. The research, led by the University of Northampton and funded by the NHS, will examine other incidents of serious infection in children under five – from the moment a parent realises their child is ill, through contact with GPs, to admission to hospital. The way GPs, NHS 111 call handlers and out-of-hours services deal with parents’ concerns will be investigated.

The researchers will initially assess the cases of 20 children in great detail, interviewing every doctor involved, and will then widen the study to see how common the issues are nationally. Child mortality has significantly improved in Britain over the last 25 years – but every other Western European country now has better rates.

It means when a toddler has sepsis or another complex condition the symptoms are often missed. Now a major investigation is to examine why fatal delays occur and also focus on treatable infections which often lead to sepsis. More than 1,000 under-fives die with sepsis in Britain every year

It means when a toddler has sepsis or another complex condition the symptoms are often missed. Now a major investigation is to examine why fatal delays occur and also focus on treatable infections which often lead to sepsis. More than 1,000 under-fives die with sepsis in Britain every year

It means when a toddler has sepsis or another complex condition the symptoms are often missed. Now a major investigation is to examine why fatal delays occur and also focus on treatable infections which often lead to sepsis. More than 1,000 under-fives die with sepsis in Britain every year

Office for National Statistics data, for 2015, puts UK under-five mortality at 4.5 per 1,000 births although rates have improved 51 per cent since 1990, when 9.3 children in 1,000 died.

But in Portugal child mortality has improved 76 per cent and by 61 per cent in Ireland.

Professor Sarah Neill of Northampton University, said: ‘Infection is a major cause of avoidable childhood deaths in the UK, particularly in the under-fives, yet we know little about the factors that influence when children are admitted to hospital.’ 





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