ONE of the country’s leading paediatricians has warned that 100 children in Scotland will die preventable deaths this year.

In a new report, Professor Steve Turner, the officer for Scotland for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), has called on the Scottish Government to establish a child death review process “as soon as possible”.

Ministers promised to implement a system that would probe the reason for each death, in a bid to learn lessons, four years ago.

Scotland has a considerably higher mortality rate for under 18s than any other Western European country, with around 350 and 450 young people dying every year.

Preventable deaths, which account for around a quarter of those, include everything from cancer to car accidents.

Two years ago the RCPCH published State of Child Health: Scotland with a number of recommendations for ministers.

In their most recent report, a “scorecared” looking at government progress on those recommendations, the RCPCH praise improvements, especially on child poverty, obesity and mental health, but say there is still much more to be done.

Launching the report, Turner said: “Scotland currently has some of the worst outcomes for child health in Europe, but as our scorecard shows, the Government is working hard to turn this around. However, the Government strategy now needs to turn to action.

He added: “In 2019 approximately 100 children will die from preventable causes in Scotland. Unlike England and Wales, we do not have a system to learn from these tragedies.

“As a priority, we need to identify why these deaths occur and to take action. Despite the Scottish Government recommending a Scotland-wide child death review process to be implemented over four years ago, we are yet to see this preventative action actually established. I call on the Government to bring Scotland in line with England and Wales and establish the Child Death Review Process as soon as possible”

The scorecard also revealed setbacks on funding mandatory child health training for GPs. The RCPCH says with around a quarter of each GP’s patients being under 19, there should be some formal post-graduate child health training.

Turner also criticised the lack of progress on providing every child and young person suffering a long-term condition with a named doctor or health professional.

He also pointed out the lack of progress on extending smoking bans in public places to cover school grounds and all sports fields and playgrounds

Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said the Government was working with Healthcare Improvement Scotland and the Care Inspectorate to “establish a National Hub focused on the reviewing and learning from deaths of children and young people in Scotland”.

Labour health spokesperson Monica Lennon called on Ministers to take “radical action”.