News story

New national pledge to improve children’s health and reduce child deaths

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A new pledge about making improvements to the health of children and young people has been launched today.

The pledge is part of the government’s response to the Children and Young People’s Health Outcomes Forum (CYPHOF).

Dr Daniel Poulter MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health was first to sign the pledge, at an event at the Evelina Children’s Hospital - part of Guy’s and St Thomas NHS  Foundation Trust.

At the event, Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said:

“It is a shocking fact that child mortality in Britain is the worst when compared to other similar European countries.  There is unacceptable variation across the country in the quality of care for children - for example in the treatment of long-term conditions such as asthma and diabetes.

“We are determined that children and young people will be at the heart of the new health and care system. Too often in the past their needs have been an afterthought.

“Our pledge demonstrates how all parts of the system will play their part and work together to improve children’s health. There is already a lot of good work going on but we want the NHS to do even more to improve care for children and young people and reduce the mortality rate.”

By signing the pledge, he committed the government to do everything it can to improve the health of children and young people, improve services from pregnancy to adolescence and beyond and reduce avoidable deaths.

Read the pledge Better health outcomes for children and young people: Our pledge.

The Department of Health is asking organisations who have the power to make a difference to sign up alongside the government and do everything they can to improve the care that children and young people receive and reduce avoidable deaths. The following organisations have also signed up to the pledge with more organisations expected to follow:

  • Academy of Medical Royal Colleges
  • Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS)
  • Care Quality Commission
  • Faculty of Public Health
  • Healthwatch
  • Health Education England
  • Local Government Association
  • MHRA
  • NHS Commissioning Board
  • NHS Confederation
  • NHS Information Centre
  • NHS Trust Development Authority
  • NICE
  • Public Health England
  • RCGP
  • RCN
  • RCPsych
  • Society of Local Government Chief Executives (SOLACE)

The pledge commits signatories to put children, young people and families right at the heart of decision making and improve every aspect of health services - from pregnancy through to adolescence and beyond.

System wide response

In the Department of Health’s response to the Children and Young People’s Health Outcomes Forum’s recommendations, the department has announced the beginning of a series of actions to improve children’s health. These include:

  • starting a data revolution so the NHS and local authorities get better information they can use to improve the health of young people
  • making sure children and young people are at the heart of the new health and care system and that their voices are heard.

Read the response document Improving Children and Young People’s Health Outcomes: a system wide response.

Better data will make it easier for doctors, nurses and local authorities to get all the information they need to help children. A new survey that will generate data on local health problems - like drug and alcohol use - as well as information on bullying will be piloted. New colour coded health maps similar to the existing Children’s Atlas of Variation means clinical staff, patients, their families and those who purchase services on behalf of patients will be able to look at local health outcomes for conditions like asthma and diabetes.

The Children and Young People’s Health Outcomes Forum was set up by the Government in January 2012 to identify the health issues that matter most to young people. Their work took into account the views of 2,000 people including children, young people, families and healthcare professionals. They highlighted the pressing need for big changes to be made, as well as the significant opportunities that exist in the new health system to make improvements.

The pledge and response to the forum are the start of a range of actions the government and others will take to improve the health of children and young people in the coming months.

CMO welcomes the pledge

In this video, Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer, has welcomed the government’s response to the Children and Young People’s Health Outcomes Forum Report and the new vision for children and young people’s health.

(Update to post 25 February 2013 to add the Local Government Association to the list of organisations that have signed the pledge, and to make minor typographic amends)