Britain has one of the highest mortality rates in Western Europe for children under five, new research has revealed. Experts say factors like poverty, deprivation and smoking during pregnancy contributed to the premature deaths of 3,000 children in 2012.
Infants born in Great Britain are more likely to die before their fifth birthday than any other country in Western Europe, apart from Malta, according to a study by the University of Washington and published in the Lancet journal.
The study calculates the mortality rate at 4.9 deaths for every 1,000 births in the UK, which is 25 percent higher than the Western European average. The study’s authors said they were surprised that a developed country that had pioneered a public health system had higher rates than poorer countries like Greece and Cyprus.