Children’s health services in Britain are in danger, says a report from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. It points to the financial crisis, large-scale workforce pressures in many inpatient paediatric units, poor health outcomes for children, and inadequate provision in many aspects of children and young people’s healthcare. A UNICEF recent study of children’s well-being placed Britain last out of 21 countries.
Report author Sir Ian Kennedy called children and young people’s healthcare a “Cinderella” service. It is the College’s view that unless this crisis in paediatric services is addressed the health of Britain’s children and young people will continue to suffer. But the College will not stand by and let that happen.
In its response to the Health and Social Care Bill, the College’s President, Professor Terence Stephenson, said, “We have real concerns about the rationale for the reforms, in that they risk undermining partnership working across children’s services and may fracture continuity of care, particularly for children with long term conditions or specialist or complex healthcare needs.
“Market-based competition in health without expert collaborative commissioning will undermine links between professionals, leach expertise, reduce service availability and increase waits. There must be safeguards in the Bill to ensure that services for children, which may not be lucrative enough for competitive market improvement, do not suffer.” ■