Children and young people

Healthier children will become healthier adults. Yet in important areas, children’s health has not received the attention it deserves and inequalities are worsening.
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The health and wellbeing of children and young people depend on the efforts and commitment of their parents and families, their schools and local communities and the decisions and actions of public service providers and policymakers. This creates a moral imperative to safeguard and promote their interests.  

Why is this important?

There are nearly 20 million people aged 0-24 years old living in the UK, almost a third of the population.

There have been long term improvements in health outcomes and quality indicators for children and young people, however, more recently those improvements have slowed or even reversed and internationally we compare less well than we might wish.

Child health has changed over the last 45 years. Mortality data shows an epidemiological transition away from acute infectious illness towards chronic long-term conditions, yet the way health care services are provided is still heavily hospital focused and reactive. Change has been slow to come due to a long term lack of policy focus on most of the services for children and young people

What we offer

As an independent organisation with extensive experience in research and analysis we will use these skills to describe the current and evolving picture for children and young people’s health and healthcare services.

From this we will help to develop the evidence base on how problems and challenges could be addressed either by policy and decision makers at a national and local level and/or by individual teams and professionals working with children and young people. Our work will have a particular focus on what health care services and systems can do, but will also include how the different parts of the wider context for children and young people interact with each other to address the issues.

We also aim to help build networks between different organisations and people who can shape the direction of health care services, health systems and other services.

We intend that our work in this field will help to maintain a focus on research and policy to improve quality of care, health and wellbeing for children and young people.

The moral and economic reasons for action are clear. The UK, and particularly England, urgently needs a new focus on health services for the young people who carry all our futures. We must challenge the unconscious bias that leaves children beneath our natural line of sight. In 2012, the Westminster government embedded “parity of esteem” in legislation, giving mental health equal priority to physical health. We need a new equality of priority for child health.

Russell Viner, President, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, writing in the BMJ.

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