Our keystone report on children and young people was published in May 2013.
The report concluded that we are failing our most vulnerable children, and expressed major concerns about the effects of poverty and social inequalities on child health and wellbeing in the UK, which were under performing in comparison to other European countries.
The authors also criticised the lack of funding and support for children and families across the UK, stating that it is short-sighted to remove funding from health intervention projects, and that investing money to address the causes of inequalities is far more effective than paying for the consequences.
Recommendations in the report set out what is needed to move towards an equitable society where all children are given the best start in life, and highlight the importance of coordinating children’s health services, and the processes and structures that enable them, in the interests of children and families.
They also reiterate the importance of taking a life-course approach to child health, where health and wellbeing are integrated across the lifespan from pre-conception to adolescence.
Download the report
Download report chapters
Key recommendations from 2013
- There should be an annual report on the health of the nation's children to review trends and assess what work best to improve child well-being.
- There should be accountability at ministerial level for children's health and well-being and responsibility for implementing a framework of monitoring, reviewing and remedying processes.
- Children's services should be family-centred and focused on the importance of parenting, where the child and family are treated as a unit.
- Identify families where lifestyle could affect the health of the unborn child - for example a household where parents smoke, take drugs, misuse alcohol - and invest in community and family support schemes to tackle these issues.
- Multi-disciplinary working between social services, education authorities, healthcare teams, police services and others should be made easier.
- Tackle the poverty that lies at the roots of most health disadvantages. This could include developing evidence-based initiatives such as Sure Start or improving the quality of social and other housing.
- Provide evidence-based parenting courses and raise awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding.
- Provide education and practical support on healthy eating. This should include ensuring that schools provide nutritional meals and compulsory cooking classes.
Analysis of the report
The UK is failing our most vulnerable children, says new BMA report
Press release, 16 May 2013
UK failing children, says BMA
BMA news story, 16 May 2013
Growing up in the UK - what's changed since 1999?
The BMA blog, April 2013
Growing pains across the UK
We've got shelf-loads of policies on how to make things better for child health. There's been much less focus on delivery.
Integration of services and what doctors can do to help
Who is in overall charge of my child?
Shift towards preventative approach needed
Many babies in the womb today are receiving unbalanced and inadequate diets
Digging for data: how better information helps child health
One of the key elements for giving all children the best start in life is ensuring child health policies are evidence-based and informed by robust data, to improve the 'match' between children’s healthcare needs and the services provided to meet those needs.