Research has found that almost 2,000 British children die every year from avoidable causes because GPs lack the necessary training.

The study, carried out by the Evelina London Children’s Hospital at Guy’s and St Thomas’s NHS Foundation Trust, was recently published in the medical journal The Lancet. It is part of a wider investigation into the state of health in Europe.

Among the 15 EU member states studied, the UK has the highest number of excess child deaths. The child mortality rate in the UK is over 60% higher than Sweden, which came top in the study’s European league.

The poor results are being attributed to British GPs who are apparently failing to differentiate between serious paediatric illnesses and trivial cases. In particular, conditions such as pneumonia, asthma and diabetes are being missed by family doctors.

The UK has one of the highest death rates for child pneumonia, even though it can be treated with antibiotics. Similarly the UK has the highest child death rate for asthma, while it is thought that two-thirds of hospital admissions for asthma could be avoided.

Dr Ingrid Wolfe, who led the study, said GPs in Britain did not have sufficient training in paediatric care and did not work closely enough with child specialists. She said: “Five more children die a day in Britain compared with Sweden. I think that is a national scandal.

“Two thousand families lose a child each year – arguably avoidably. We should not be allowing children to die from pneumonia in countries with high-functioning health systems.”

Have you been affected by negligent GP care?

If your family has been affected by negligent GP care, get in touch with a solicitor today to discuss what action you can take.

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