Intended for healthcare professionals


New child safeguarding arrangements for England

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: (Published 08 October 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l5813
  1. Peter Green, designated doctor for child safeguarding, Wandsworth Clinical Commissioning Group
  1. Children’s Department, St George’s University Hospital, London, UK
  1. petergreen2{at}

An important opportunity to improve child health

How is it that if all infants born in the UK in 20171 had been born in Finland instead, perhaps 1500 more would have survived? That is one of the questions that the newly established National Child Mortality Database, set up under the Children and Social Work Act 2017, should start to answer. The UK’s infant mortality rate of 3.9 deaths/1000 live births compares unfavourably with that of Finland (2/1000), Slovenia (2.1/1000), and Norway (2.3/1000).2 And for childhood health and wellbeing), the UK is ranked 15th among developed countries (Portugal is first), so there is clearly room for improvement here as well.

In this, the 30th anniversary year of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child,3 reforms in England give us an important opportunity to improve children’s lives. The UN convention committed ratifying nations to provide the best possible health for all children, but the mechanism for promoting the welfare of children …

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