The death of every child in Scotland is to be reviewed in future in an attempt to reduce the avoidable deaths of young people, the Scottish Government has announced.
Information is now being collected about the death of anyone aged 18 or younger, or up to 26 if they had recently been receiving care.
The mortality rate for under-18s in Scotland is higher than any other country in western Europe, with approximately 300 children and young people dying every year.
A quarter of those deaths are deemed preventable, and the Scottish Government hopes that gathering data about the causes could help reduce the number of avoidable deaths.
Public health minister Maree Todd said: “The death of any child or young person is a tragedy.
“Our ambition is for Scotland to be the best place to grow up, where every child can reach their full potential.
“We have put in place this national system so we can learn and prevent avoidable deaths or harm in the future and I welcome that it is now being rolled out.”
The death data be collected by government bodies Healthcare Improvement Scotland and the Care Inspectorate and will be studied by representatives from the health and social care sector, Police Scotland, the Procurator Fiscal and charities, with the aim of improving services or recommending changes to the law.
Dr Alison Rennie, a consultant paediatrician and clinical director of community paediatrics at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, will lead the national hub tasked with reviewing and learning from child deaths.
She said: “I am proud to be part of the National Hub and join my many colleagues who will be using the hub’s guidance to conduct quality reviews, share learning and change outcomes.
“We hope to make a tangible, positive difference to the lives and deaths of children and young people, as well as the families and carers surrounding them.”