Vision 2016: Securing better health for Scotland's infants, children and young people

Categories: Basic Health and Welfare, Health and health services and Mental health

27th October 2015

RCPCH Scotland has published its 2016 vision for child health in Scotland. It envisions Scotland being one of the healthiest places in the world to grow up, with equal access to resources and communities that value both physical and mental wellbeing.

The report 'Securing better health for Scotland's infants, children and young people' documents a range of actions to help improve child health, including advocating financial inclusion as one of the key actions to tackle child health inequalities.

RCPCH calls on politicians in Scotland to reduce health inequalities and use devolved powers to:

- Implement a minimum price for alcohol
- Develop education programmes for parents on dangers of alcohol use in pregnancy
- Introduce 20mph speed limits in built up areas

In the run up to the 2016 election and with child health in Scotland amongst the poorest in Western Europe, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) have called on the next government to be bold and introduce a series of policies to make child health in Scotland comparable to the best in the world.

In its manifesto and vision for child health in Scotland, 'A Vision for 2016,' the RCPCH calls on the next government to make child health a priority by tackling childhood obesity - currently over a quarter of Scottish children are overweight or obese - reducing the number of preventable deaths of infants, children and young people and addressing the health needs of the 210,000 Scottish children living in poverty.

To do this, the RCPCH recommends that the next Scottish government:

- Intervene early by: introducing a 20mph speed limit in built up areas to promote safe play and encourage children to walk, scoot or cycle to school
- Reduce child mortality by: Implementing a minimum price for alcohol and introduce a graduated licensing scheme for new drivers of all ages
- Reduce inequalities by: developing targeted programmes to promote positive parenting and educate parents on the dangers of alcohol use in pregnancy
- Ensure a high quality NHS by: coordinating research, service development and patient safety initiatives through existing structures to ensure care delivered by the NHS is integrated and reduces waste and duplication

Dr Peter Fowlie, Officer for Scotland for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said:

"Whilst our nation has much to be proud of when it comes to improving children's health, it still has some of the poorest health outcomes in Western Europe, particularly relating to child obesity and child mortality levels.

"I want Scotland to be the best place in the world to grow up. Only by targeting interventions at those most in need will we begin to achieve this."

The RCPCH's 'A Vision for 2016' document also recommends:

- Commissioning high quality research dedicated to interventions to reduce inequalities;
- Ensuring financial inclusion services -access to grants and advice - are available to families most in need;
- Increasing the proportion of the NHS budget spent on Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

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