Critical step towards ensuring happier and healthier children

10 January 2024

Responding to Labour's new Child Health Action Plan, Miriam Deakin, director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers said:

"This plan could be a critical step towards ensuring children in England are as happy and healthy as possible.

"Targeting public health issues such as obesity and smoking, as well as mental health in childhood and adolescence, would help prevent ill health later in life.

"But children's health is influenced by many factors, including housing, education, and public health funding, so action in these areas is also needed.

"Children and young people are a third of the population but receive disproportionately less healthcare investment despite many long-term conditions developing during this period.

"We therefore urge a whole-government approach that tackles the root causes of health inequalities and addresses the broader determinants of health.

"Better capital investment in mental health and community settings is also key to ensure fit-for-purpose environments that deliver high-quality care as close to home as possible. 

"Sharper focus on addressing long waits for community services, including assessments for neurodevelopmental pathways, community paediatrics, and speech and language therapy, is also vital to helping children and young people stay well and happy at home, contributing to a healthier society."