Nationwide Review Aims To Tackle Number Of Child Deaths

Child deaths in Wales will be reviewed in an attempt to prevent so many youngsters dying. Gwenda Thomas, Deputy Social Services Minister, yesterday announced the all-Wales pilot and said it would initially focus on child suicides. The review will identify avoidable factors and contributors to child deaths.

There are about 300 child deaths every year in Wales, and almost half are babies under 28 days of age.

Mrs Thomas, speaking at a Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health (CEMACH) conference in Cardiff, said: “We need to look at what can be done by local authorities, the NHS and other agencies to address these issues at a local level as well as what the Welsh Assembly Government might do at a national level. I am confident that an all-Wales pilot for child death reviews will identify avoidable factors that contribute to child deaths and consequently help us to eliminate or reduce them as far as possible.”

A report by CEMACH revealed that more than half of the deaths of children over the age of 28 days may have been avoidable or potentially avoidable. An unexpected death is defined as the death of a child that was not anticipated as a significant possibility 24 hours before the death.