The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health’s shoddy research exaggerates the level of child poverty in Scotland by contrast with other parts of the UK

Only 14 Scottish paediatricians bother to respond to a survey of child poverty’s effects on health. What does this mean?


The Royal College of Paediatrics and 2017 Child Health’s (RCPCH) State of Child Health report asked the question:


To what extent do you believe that low income/poverty contributes to ill health among

the children you work with?’


266 responses were received with the following results

Area                            Very much       Somewhat       Not at all or little

Midlands E                  29                    14                    2

North England             24                    7                      0

South England             30                    9                      6

Scotland                      8                      6                      0

N Ireland                     14                    12                    2

Wales                          22                    10                    2

London                        56                    12                    1


I don’t know how many paediatricians there are in the UK but Scotland has about one eleventh of the UK population so should have at least 22 responses rather than only 14. Both Wales and Northern Ireland have half the population and more than twice the responses in this survey thus distorting it. Given that this was a self-selecting sample you might quite reasonably deduce that Scottish paediatricians were less likely to respond because they actually see less of a problem yet the report concluded:

‘The highest levels of concern about poor housing and homelessness were in London and Scotland, where half of doctors responding to the survey believed that these affect children’s health ‘very much’. In contrast, in the North of England only a quarter of the respondents said this.’


This is both unreliable, given the self-selecting and very small sample and contradicts earlier published evidence from the same source in the same year.

‘Latest data: In 2015, the rate of children on a CPP or Child Protection Register was in the mid-40s per 10,000 across Wales, England and Northern Ireland. The rate in Scotland was considerably lower at 27 per 10,000. (88)

 Latest data: In 2014 the Infant Mortality Rate across the UK was 3.9 deaths per 1,000 live births: 3.9 in England and Wales, 3.6 in Scotland, and 4.8 in Northern Ireland. (15)

 Latest data: The mortality rate per 100,000 population for children aged one to nine years in 2013/2014 was 12.1 in the UK overall and 12.2 in England and Wales, 11.8 in Northern Ireland and 11.1 in Scotland. (20)


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