State of Child Health - One Year On

The RCPCH has published State of Child Health – One Year On scorecards  for England, Wales and Scotland. These documents examine progress against the recommendations made for the governments in each nation in last year’s landmark State of Child Health report.

The scorecards reveal that children and young people are suffering at the hands of a disjointed approach from central Government, with Westminster lagging behind Scotland and Wales in the development of robust and proactive child health policies.

The England scorecard reveals progress in some areas including the launch of a Digital Child Health Strategy, the publication of a new Tobacco Control Plan, the initiation of some specialist service reviews in paediatrics and the implementation of the sugar tax. However, there has been no improvement in several fundamental areas, including:

  • No plans for an overarching child health strategy
  • No junk food advertising ban
  • No way of measuring UK breastfeeding prevalence
  • No increased investment in child health research

This is in stark contrast with action undertaken in the last year in other parts of the UK, including, in Scotland:

  • The passing of the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act with defined poverty reduction targets
  • A new Mental Health Strategy including a commitment to improve transition to adult services

And in Wales:

  • The enactments of the Public Health (Wales) Act which includes extending bans on smoking in public places to school grounds, playgrounds and NHS grounds.
  • A new state of the art facility in Cardiff to expand capacity for child health research

Get involved!

We are calling on Westminster Government to prioritise and invest in child health now to secure a healthier future for generations to come. We want them to do this by adopting a “child health in all policies” approach, meaning that all new legislation should be developed with its impact on children’s health considered. Cross-departmental commitment is also vital, and Government should establish a cross-departmental Cabinet sub-committee to develop a robust and wide-ranging child health strategy. Investment in preventative health is crucial for protecting everyone’s health and wellbeing, and makes good economic sense.

Join us in our campaign by writing to your MP using our template letter, asking them to call on Government to prioritise child health. If you live in Wales or Scotland, you might like to edit the template to really stress work being done in these areas where England is sadly lagging behind.

As MPs receive hundreds of emails every day, it always helps to make yours stand out, so if you have any specific examples of the state of child health in your local area, please edit the template to include information on your experiences.