Infant Mortality: Newham

Health written question – answered on 18th January 2013.

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Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the trends in infant mortality rates in Newham.

Photo of Daniel Poulter Daniel Poulter The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The infant mortality rate for Newham in 2010 was 5.9 deaths per 1,000 live births. This compares with a rate of 4.2 deaths per 1,000 live births in England for the same period. The higher rates in Newham reflect the higher level of deprivation - Newham ranked third out of 326 local authorities on the Index of Multiple Deprivation in 2010.

While infant mortality rates have declined across England over the last 10 years and are now at a historic low level, inequalities remain. Rates in Newham are broadly following this trend—having fallen by 19% between 2000 and 2010, compared with a 25% drop in infant mortality rates across England over the same period.

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No3 people think not

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Posted on 21 Jan 2013 10:30 am (Report this annotation)

If infant mortality rate in Newham is 1.7% above National average, and The horrendous trend was blame on the higher level of deprivation in Newham.
We all know Newham has being in top level in the table in the area most deprived. All successive governments have promised to address this problem. People who can read hand written on the wall have saying loud. We all know jobs are been created, the only answer poverty reduction. These job created have not been going the hand of the people in the local. The explanation for all this is always the same thing; the people in the area don’t have the skills for jobs created. We all know this is a fallacy of the century.
If we can check through where young school leaver going to University, they are not on the lead but not on the bottom table either. So the idea that the areas don’t have the skills for jobs created is not true.
If you pay visit to recruitment Agencies in the area, the job you will find are cleaner and carer jobs. The people with higher education are forced to move away from the area, those that have family bound find it hard to move, some move without their family.
People don’t have skills is difference from not having the experience, and the solution to lack of experience is internal training, retrain programme, trainee jobs.
I find hard to follow the argument of both honourable members

Michael Ryan
Posted on 1 Feb 2013 10:01 am (Report this annotation)

The Greater London Authority's report of 2010 was so keen to blame "deprivation" for infant mortality that the author incorrectly named Newham Borough as having the highest 2002-2008 infant mortality rate at 6.5 per 1,000 live births (pages 4 & 5) whilst Table 1 (page 2) correctly
showed that "less deprived" Southwark had the highest rate at 7.2 per 1,000 live births.

If you look at the ward map on page 8 of the above GLA report, note the clustering of wards with high infant mortality rate in NE London that are bounded by a red ellipse. If you draw a line through the centre of that cluster in NE/SW alignment ( ie the most common wind direction), you'll see that it's the line from SELCHP incinerator in the Borough of Lewisham.

The "deprivation causes infant mortality" myth is exploded by the ONS infant mortality data (1970-2010) released in December 2012 which shows that infant mortality rates in the Boroughs of Wandsworth, Newham, Lewisham, and Tower Hamlets were all falling at the same rate prior to SELCHP incinerator - but after which there was a sudden rise in infant death rates in the three Boroughs most exposed to SELCHP emissions.

See graph via:

The ONS data is at:

and you can check my graph against Newham's on page 11 of

The above Newham report also nominated Newham Primary Care Trust as having the highest stillbirth rate (2003-2005) in England.

The GLA report at start of this blog comment followed these two questions by Darren Johnson AM:

Question No: 41 / 2010
Darren Johnson
A constituent asks, is there any evidence to suggest that the SELCHP and Kings College Hospital incinerators which flank Southwark contributed to the Borough having the highest infant mortality rate in London in 2008?

Infant morality rates
Question No: 42 / 2010
Darren Johnson
Will you publish electoral ward-level data and a map showing the 2002-2008 infant mortality rates in London?

Michael Ryan
Posted on 1 Feb 2013 4:18 pm (Report this annotation)

The Times article "Chaotic NHS fails to prevent hundreds of stillbirths - NHS failing to prevent stillbirths" by Chris Smyth (27 November 2012) starts as follows:
"Hundreds of babies are dying needlessly every year because the NHS has a chaotic approach to preventing stillbirth , an investigation by The Times has found. "

and ends with:

"Dan Poulter , the Health Minister, said: "In my time working on maternity wards I never experienced a greater tragedy than the death of a baby. Whilst maternity care is constantly improving, our National Health Service needs to do a lot more to reduce the number of stillbirths ."

The written reply to Lyn Brown's PQ suggests that Dr Poulter has no interest in looking at the trend in infant death rates in Newham as he only cited a single year's rate (2010).

Dr Poulter should re-visit this PQ having seen Lyn Brown's PQ of 22 January 2013 at:

Remember also that Newham PCT had the highest 2003-2005 stillbirth rate in England according to page 15 of the report "Reducing Infant Deaths in Newham":