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Virtual conference of Westminster Health Forum, ‘Priorities for children and young people’s health in England.’

On Wednesday 3rd May, IPC colleagues Amy Simpson and Ellie Macey attended a virtual conference of Westminster Health Forum, ‘Priorities for children and young people’s health in England.’

The conference had speakers from a range of professional backgrounds, including: Rukshana Kapasi, Director of Health at Barnardo’s; Naomi Eisenstadt CB, LSE Research Fellow; Dr Camilla Kingdon, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health; and Huma Haque, Evidence Lead at the National Centre for Family Hubs.

Presenters outlined current issues and priorities in child, young person and family health and social care, and this was followed by opportunities for audience members to ask questions. Some of the key developments and themes emerging from the conference included:

  • Addressing the impact of poverty on child development: with child poverty rates in the UK predicted to rise in the next few years, (The Resolution Foundation, 2023) many professionals believe it is vital to focus on mitigating the negative impacts poverty can have on children’s development. An important part of working on this could be a shift to prevention, rather intervention and treatment later down the line
  • Focussing on children and young people within the new Integrated Care Systems (ICS’s): ICS’s have a key part to play in improving the access and outcomes around child and young person health in their local area. One part of this work would be to develop outcomes frameworks across the life course
  • Continuing to increase child and young person mental health provision: A major concern raised by speakers and audience members was the substantial increase in demand for mental health support for children and young people. Suggestions for increasing provision of support included developing early support hubs in every local area and increasing coverage of Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) in schools
  • Child and young person health inequalities: There are major inequalities in many areas of health for children and young people, depending on characteristics including their socioeconomic status and ethnicity, including in infant mortality rates and obesity. Suggestions for addressing these inequalities included introducing National Child Poverty Targets, and continued investment in the Family Hub Programme.

The conference was a brilliant opportunity for IPC to gain insights into the current priorities and concerns of many key stakeholders and professionals working in child and young person health, which will help in our consultancy, research and evaluation, and teaching work going forward.

The Living Standards Outlook 2023 (2023), Mark Brewer, Emily Fry and Lalitha Try, Resolution Foundation. Access at https://www.resolutionfoundati...2023.pdf