The state of child health – a fragmented approach with deepening public health cuts

The State of Child Health: One year on reviews progress across a range of key child health indicators and recommendations from the original RCPCH report in 2017. Its conclusions, in the form of ‘scorecards’ for England, Scotland and Wales, reveal progress in some areas but concerns about the lack of improvement in ‘several fundamental areas’ including the lack of plans for an overarching child health strategy and the lack of increased investment in child health research. In addition, the greatest areas of concern are ‘the deepening public health cuts which have worsened in the last year and are disproportionately affecting children’s services’.

Aspects of the scorecard which show ‘no change’ include funding to enable local authorities to deliver health visiting services and home safety equipment schemes, with a focus on water safety, blind cord safety and safe sleeping. ‘No change’ is also recorded for the recommendation that local authorities should introduce 20mph speed limits in built up areas to create safer environments for children to walk, cycle and play. The impact of funding cuts on action to reduce child poverty and inequality is highlighted.

‘Significant progress made’ and noted in the review includes work by Public Health England (PHE) to provide a call to action to all healthcare professionals to use their skills and relationships to make the most impact and share good practice, as well as action by PHE to refresh and publish the model service specification for the healthy child programme and universal services.

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Updated April 2018