In the Nordic countries – Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland – the rate of stillbirths and deaths of babies within 28 days is 4.3 per 1 000 live births. This is the lowest in the world. In the USA, it’s about 10. The Scottish figure has now fallen to just 4.72 with the rate for the UK at 5.61.
This good news is from the BBC website! If you can bear to watch Reporting Scotland or listen to Good Morning Scotland and they mention it or don’t, let me know.
However, there’s something a bit contradictory here isn’t there. Aren’t we the sick man of Europe with shorter life expectancies due to smoking and poor diets? Shouldn’t our childbirth figures be higher than the rest of the UK? Yet, they’re not. Why? Well, I’ve already reported on what are probably the two main reasons – lower child poverty and a better NHS. Here’s a reminder of the evidence for these claims and their sources. First on child poverty, see this again:
‘Scotland, for example, has the smallest number of children living in poverty among the constituent nations of the UK, the lowest prevalence of low pay and far more young people from deprived areas going on to higher education.’ (iv)
Second on NHS Scotland:
‘Out of all the four nations, hospitals in Scotland seem [seem?] to have fared the best. Weekly data shows four-hour performance in major units hovering around the 90% mark during January.
So, who gets the credit for this? Have years of progressive social policies implemented by the SNP helped in anyway do you think? Are the UK figures lagging due to Tory austerity measures?