England and Wales: Infant mortality rates rise for third year running in England and Wales

06 September 2019

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show infant mortality rates in England and Wales have risen for the third year running.

The report, covering 2017, says ‘the infant mortality rate increased to 3.9 deaths per 1000 live births compared with 3.8 in 2016’.

Following steady improvement, the rate had been 3.6 deaths per 1000 in 2014, but then began to rise.

And in the most deprived areas of England, babies were almost twice as likely to die within the first year of life (5.2 deaths per 1000 live births) than those in the least deprived areas (2.7 deaths per 1000 live births).

Reacting to the figures, Professor Russell Viner, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, urged the government to ‘take immediate steps to tackle social inequality and improve maternal and early years care’, including ‘reducing maternal deprivation and providing properly funded supportive services’.

He also called for ‘a reversal of the cuts to public health budgets which have slashed health visitor numbers’.

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