26 January 2017
Article by Sarah Hatherley, National Assembly for Wales Research Service
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) has today (26 January 2017), published its first report on the ‘State of Child Health in the UK’ (PDF, 2,250KB). The report provides an insight into the state of child health in the UK. A separate document ‘Recommendations for Wales’ (PDF,162KB) has been published alongside the main report.
The RCPCH’s Wales report is divided into 12 sections and makes 39 recommendations for improving children and young people’s health and well-being in Wales.
Whilst the report welcomes some initiatives by the Welsh Government such as the Healthy Child Wales programme, ongoing action to reduce smoking rates and increases in funding for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), it delivers a stark warning to the UK Government and its devolved administrations – “that while many children and young people will lead happy and healthy lives, the future health and happiness of a significant and growing number is in jeopardy” (p.4).
The Wales report states that more action is needed to address the particular challenges in Wales, with worrying figures on the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people, concerns about the number of children who are overweight or obese and child poverty. The report delivers a strong message about the inequalities in child health and shows the impact of ongoing associations between socio-economic inequalities and poor health outcomes, most notably in terms of child deaths.
The bottom line is that the RCPCH believe that the UK Government, and its devolved administrations, could do far more to improve child health and wellbeing.
On Wednesday 1 February 2017, the Children, Young People and Education Committee will consider the report and the implications of its findings for Wales.