Poverty and Child Health

Earlier this year, RCPCH teamed up with the Child Poverty Action Group to survey our members on the links between poverty and child health. The results were troubling, with more than 250 paediatricians across the country reporting that poverty and low income is seriously affecting the health of UK children.

The resulting report - Poverty and child health: views from the frontline (PDF) - looks at a number of areas including food insecurity, poor housing and worry, stress and stigma – and their effect on the health of children.  It reveals that, alarmingly, more than two-thirds of paediatricians surveyed said poverty and low income contribute ‘very much’ to the ill health of children they work with.

This evidence reinforces the key message from the RCPCH's landmark State of Child Health report; that children living in the most disadvantaged areas of the UK are much more likely to experience negative health outcomes than their more affluent peers. In short, poverty is plaguing the lives of children in this country.

Take action now!

It is clear that urgent action by Government is needed to tackle these devastating child health inequalities without delay. To achieve this, we need MPs to understand the impact of poverty on child health. Please support our campaign by writing to your MP and asking them to support measures to tackle child poverty. One such measure is the reversal of public health cuts, which are disproportionately affecting universal children's services which, if properly funded, ensure that all children get the best possible start in life whatever their circumstances.

By entering your postcode in the box below, you will be taken through to a template email to your MP. Note that you can either enter your home postcode or the postcode of the hospital you work in. Please ensure you edit the email copy to reflect this option and add any other anecdotal evidence you may have to the template - for example, personal experiences of working with children and families experiencing poverty and the effect that this has on health and wellbeing. If you are writing to the MP representing your hospital's constituency, you can take this action a second time and write to your own local MP, too!

This campaign is supported by RCPCH, Child Poverty Action Group and British Association of Child and Adolescent Public Health.