Somewhat ghoulish but interesting all the same


Another one of those reports telling us of the terrors of inequality:

The death rate among preschool children in the UK is almost double that of Sweden, with social inequalities being partly to blame, according to researchers.

We have to say that we're not convinced. We could imagine poverty contributing to such things, but simple inequality we have a hard time believing.

The researchers found there were 614 deaths per 100,000 of the under-fives population in the UK, compared with 328 in Sweden. The primary causes of death in the UK were problems associated with premature birth, congenital abnormalities, and infections, with the mortality rate for the first of these factors being 13 times higher than in Sweden.

The study’s co-author Imti Choonara, emeritus professor at Nottingham University’s academic unit of child health, said: “The major cause of death is prematurity, and social economic inequalities are one of the causes [of prematurity]. A society with large inequalities inevitably results in worse health outcomes.”

But they're adamant that it is that inequality. Which is interesting because other studies of premature birth and survival rates don't think that's it at all.

Rather, they think that the Swedish health care system, despite it costing about the same as the NHS, is rather better at dealing with all of this than the NHS is.

That is, the usual finding on this subject is that the NHS isn't very good. Bit of a surprise that, isn't it?