Achieving Equity and Excellence for Children

How can health services be improved for children and young people?

In September the government set out a new vision for the health of children and young people: Achieving Equity and Excellence for Children.

It discusses how the new arrangements outlined in the NHS White Paper should improve services for children and young people, and is a response to Professor Sir Ian Kennedy’s review of children’s services.

Importantly, the document recognises that: “illness and injury can have a long-lasting impact on a young person’s life and ultimately on their life chances, and therefore on our economy and society. In turn this can impact significantly on their family’s life. So this matters for all of us” (Achieving Equity and Excellence for Children, paragraph 1.3).

It acknowledges that child health services have received disproportionately low priority and states the government’s determination to “design children and young people into our proposals from the outset” in order to address the challenges that Sir Ian poses (Ministerial Foreword).

And it also recognises that “lack of effective joint working has hindered the development of high quality services for children and young people” and that while there are “excellent examples of organisations working in partnership to support children and young people, they are often driven by committed individuals, in spite of the system rather than because of it” (paragraph 4.2).

The engagement document, which formed part of the wider consultation for the White Paper Achieving Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS, sought views on the changes needed at local and national levels to improve both healthcare and public health for children and young people.

In our response to the NHS White Paper consultation on improving local democratic legitimacy in health, CAPT welcomed the emphasis on designing services around the needs and priorities of children, young people and their families. We stressed that this must include preventative services.

We also argued that children’s public health must be public health as experienced by children and their families, rather than child public health seen through the prism of adult morbidity and mortality. Of necessity, this puts a spotlight on injury and injury prevention. We urged the Department of Health to include an outcome on reducing serious injury in the forthcoming Public Health Outcomes Framework.

Have your say

We’d like to know what you think would make a real difference to improving children’s health and well-being under the proposed new arrangements.

Who should sit on the proposed health and well-being boards?

What should be the relationship between the health and well-being board and the Children’s Trust, Local Safeguarding Children Board and Child Death Overview Panel?

What support should the proposed Public Health Service offer to local authorities to enable them to provide integrated preventative services to children?

Updated June 2011