The NHS has launched the National Child Mortality Database (NCMD) - the world's first national database of child mortality to record comprehensive data on the circumstances of children’s deaths. The new system that went live on 1 April 2019 will collect information on any death of children from birth up to age 18 years as well as reducing the effect of lifestyle and environmental factors like pollution and economic background.
The NCMD, commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership and developed by the University of Bristol, will collect and collate data from local reviews of all child deaths in England; and determine reasons for death, like death due to asthma, so that the links between mortality and care as well as environmental factors such as air pollution and smoking at home are properly understood and tackled.
Currently, UK infant mortality is 30 per cent higher than other comparable European countries with factors like maternal smoking during pregnancy and low breastfeeding rates contributing to this.
The new national database will also publish reports of information from all child deaths across England and develop guidance for health and other public organisation leaders to improve care or take preventive action.
Dr Karen Luyt, NCMD Programme Lead from the Bristol Medical School at the University of Bristol, said: "The launch of the new National Child Mortality Database will track patterns of death across the country, identifying ways to intervene and where possible, prevent other children dying in the same way. This insight is desperately needed and we as child health experts, look forward to seeing the positive impact this tool will make in this country."