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Unacceptable variance in infant mortality rates across Wales

There is a unacceptable variance in infant mortality rates across Wales with infants in the Isle of Anglesey three times more likely to die than infants in Monmouthshire.

Statistics released this week by the Office for National Statistics have shown the average infant mortality rate for Wales between 2009-2011 was 4.2 per every 1,000 births. Since 1971, the infant mortality rate has decreased considerably throughout the United Kingdom. Nonetheless, the figures have shown there is a big variance in figures across Wales.

The infant mortality rate is the number of deaths under 1 year per 1,000 live births.

These shocking figures highlight just how much this failing Welsh Labour Government has presided over an unequal society here in Wales.

How can it be that a baby under the age of one in Anglesey is nearly three times more likely to die than a baby living in Monmouth?

There are a wide range of issues that this Welsh Labour Government needs to be looking at as a matter of urgency. It needs to investigate why this unacceptable variance exists and what more it can do to improve neonatal and baby services in the areas where infant mortality is so high. The health of the mother is of course vitally important too. There could also possibly be issues with the environment the infants are living in. Whether it be poor housing conditions, low education levels or poor lifestyle choices, the wide variance in Wales needs to be investigated.

I have no intention to be alarmist on this issue. The number of infant mortalities is very much on the decline and this is of course to be welcomed. Nonetheless, the variance across Wales is stark and unacceptable.

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