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Fragmented approach to child health damaging long term health of nation warns Royal College

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health state that child health is suffering at the hands of a disjointed approach from central Government.

They have tracked progress by governments in England, Wales and Scotland to improve children's health over the last 12 months.

The scorecards for England, Scotland and Wales describe progress against the series of recommendations made a year ago in the RCPCH’s landmark State of Child Health report.

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

The greatest areas for concern are the deepening public health cuts which have worsened in the last year and are disproportionately affecting children’s services. The scorecard marks this ‘black’, quoting latest statistics that show public health spending is over 5% lower in 2017-18 compared with 2013-14.

Professor Neena Modi, President of the RCPCH, said:

“The science exists for all to see; invest in the health of children and make a huge difference to their health in later life and hence to their economic productivity. For example, four-fifths of obese children will remain obese as adults and this will result in them losing between 10-20 years of healthy life.

"That’s a very frightening statistic and something that Government must get to grips with. It’s no wonder the NHS is burgeoning under the weight of ill health. This is time for a long vision for the sake of the nation’s wellbeing and prosperity yet the focus remains short-term and ineffective.”

See the full report here.