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Published, 23 January 2019

State of Child Health: Two Years On

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) has today (23 January 2019) published State of Child Health: Two Years On, which highlights progress made against the policy recommendations in their landmark State of Child Health 2017 report.

Children’s doctors say they are “witnessing a hugely welcome shift towards the prioritisation of child health” but warn child poverty, cuts to public health services and uncertainties about Brexit pose substantial threats to progress.

The State of Child health: Two years on scorecard, which describes progress against a series of recommendations made in the RCPCH’s landmark State of Child Health report 2017 report, has been produced for each of the four UK nations and assesses a varied picture.

The Scottish Government has published plans aimed at tackling child poverty, obesity and mental health. Today’s publication reveals good work undertaken during 2018’s Year of the Young Person, with plans unveiled to address three of the major barriers to good child health in Scotland - child poverty, obesity and mental health.

Scotland’s diet and healthy weight delivery plan and Scotland's physical activity delivery plan both published in 2018, aim to tackle childhood obesity and ultimately become a healthier nation for children and young people.

The Scottish Government’s Every child, every chance: tackling child poverty delivery plan outlines welcome actions to reduce relative child poverty to less than 10% by 2030.

Further to this, the Better mental health in Scotland delivery plan clearly highlights the momentum for change in Children and Young People’s Mental Health services.

The RCPCH believes that plans on their own, however, are not enough. If 2018 was a year for developing policy, they want 2019 to be the year for action and implementation to ensure that these welcome policies are translated into actual improvements in child health.

Professor Steve Turner, Officer for Scotland for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said:

'Scotland currently has some of the worst outcomes for child health in Europe, but as our scorecard shows, the Government is working hard to turn this around. However, the Government strategy now needs to turn to action.

'The gap in health outcomes between the richest and poorest communities in Scotland is widening, and that has a detrimental effect on rates of childhood obesity, mental health and mortality, particularly for Scotland’s most vulnerable families. Without timely and effected change, many more of Scotland’s youngsters will join the 230,000 children already living in poverty and their health will undoubtedly suffer as a result.'

The RCPCH believes that plans on their own, however, are not enough. If 2018 was a year for developing policy, they want 2019 to be the year for action and implementation to ensure that these welcome policies are translated into actual improvements in child health.

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