Members of the Committee to receive the Annual Report of the Child Death Overview Panel for the period 2021-22.
Members of the Committee received the Annual Report of the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Child Death Overview Panel for the period 2021-22.
Rob Howard, Consultant in Public Health and Chair of the Child Death Overview Panel (CDOP) introduced the report and advised members of the Child Death Overview Panel’s statutory duty to review all deaths of children normally resident in the area and to produce an annual report.
Members attention was drawn to the following points:
· The purpose of a review was not an investigation as other investigations were conducted through the police and coroner.
· The CDOP review was the final part looking at the story of what happened to that child and supporting the family through the worst possible circumstances and identifying if there was any learning that could come out or whether there were any moderation factors that could be put in place to prevent another death.
· The number of child deaths during 2021-22 were higher than the previous few years, and although there was some concern at that it was noted that the panel now looked at all deaths no matter the gestation age whereas before there was a cut-off point.
· Another factor to the number of deaths could be seen around covid and the lock downs in that during the lock down there were fewer deaths among children with life limiting conditions as they were not dying from secondary causes but as society re-opened there was exposure to more infections and that has led to a rise in deaths.
· A rise in infant mortality had been seen in the city, this was an indicator of the health of the community and a direct link to deprivation which had increased over 10 years of austerity and was being looked at in detail.
· The common modifiable factors, e.g., parental smoking and smoking in the home, maternal obesity leading to complication in pregnancy, and unsafe sleeping practices especially where people were out of a routine.
Members noted that Safe Sleep Week had recently taken place and a video about keeping young ones safe had been produced “Live Well Little Ones”.
Members also noted that the report looked at suicide and self-harm; although numbers were relatively small those cases were audited, and consideration given to how services for families could be improved.
Members expressed alarm that around 1 in 5 deaths could be avoided if children lived in less deprived areas. There was a discussion about inequalities and how the impact of events like covid, cost of living and deprivation lead to fundamental and deep seated issues around equity.
Members felt it was crucial that this data and knowledge was shared to show it was not all right for these deaths to be happening in society.
Members noted that as a local authority, in terms of what it was trying to do with services within the resources available it was still prioritising and focusing on this area to address the situation.
The Chair thanked officers for the report and commented that during the next cycle of meetings the commission would like to explore further the issues of inequity, people not living well and the detrimental effect on mortality as well as mental health, suicide, and self-harming amongst young people.
That the contents of the report be noted.