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First Children & Young People's Outcome Forum Annual Report

posted 5 May 2014, 04:31 by Damian Wood   [ updated 5 May 2014, 04:33 ]
The first annual report by the Children and Young People’s Health Outcomes Forum has been published today. The report calls for:
  • A stronger voice for children: all healthcare organisations need to listen to children and young people. Clinicians and the health sector should do more to take children’s comments on board to improve the services they use;
  • Better training: all people who work with children and young people must be appropriately trained and have the right skills, attitudes and behaviours;
  • Better data: there is a need for more data to make sure that progress can be properly measured and regional variation improved;
  • More integration between children’s health and social care;
  • A bigger role for schools: schools need a greater focus on public health and early intervention and prevention;
  • A new strategy on children’s mental health services: to reduce the gap between physical and mental health services for children; and
  • Updating the NHS constitution to make it more relevant to children and their families – tailoring the NHS constitution towards children will allow families to know what their entitlements are and give them an even stronger voice.
Responding to the report, Dr Hilary Cass, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said:

“Ensuring the NHS delivers effectively for children and young people throughout their life course, within the current financial constraints, is no easy task.  But today’s report gives parties across the political spectrum a blueprint for how children and young people can be put at the heart of the our health service - and if we’re serious about promoting the health and wellbeing of this nation’s children, we have to act on it.

“Despite having one of the most advanced health systems in the world, outcomes for children in the UK are simply not good enough, for example, the UK  continues to be amongst  the worst in Europe for all  - cause mortality rates in children aged 0 -14 years. Furthermore the gap between rich and poor is widening, resulting in poorer health for children from less well off and vulnerable families, and we’re seeing too much variation in how care is delivered both between different conditions and across different locations. 

“We very much support the Forum’s call for a mental health prevalence survey, the development of indicators to measure the effectiveness of transition from child to adult services, the emphasis on early intervention strategies, and on developing and measuring the effectiveness of integrated care so that children and young people are cared for by teams who work together across organisational boundaries. It’s also crucial that there is better training for all healthcare professionals who come into contact with children.  Whether it’s physical mental health or emotional wellbeing, identifying and treating problems early not only improves child health but also reduces long term pressure on the NHS.”

Thines Ganeshamoorthy, a member of the Royal College of Paediatric and Child Health’s Youth Advisory Panel, said:

“All child health services should be designed around the needs of children and young people and so that the service is effective, safe and sustainable. That means involving children and young people, parents and carers in the design process, and making sure that every healthcare professional working with children and young people is properly trained to care for them.

“With the general election just a year away, we want to see a commitment from all political parties to deliver better outcomes for children and young people.  We urge politicians to adopt the recommendations of the Forum as a key step to make the NHS the best it can be for children.”