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Calls for ‘drastic improvements’ to child health

19 February 2013

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A new national pledge to reduce child mortality was announced by the government today (19 February 2013).

A new national pledge to reduce child mortality was announced by the government today (19 February 2013).

The NHS, Royal Colleges and local government have been asked to sign up to help make “drastic improvements” to children’s health. 
Children’s health an ‘afterthought’
“I am determined that children and young people should be at the heart of the new health and social care system,” said Dr Dan Poulter, Health Minister. 
He said children’s health was often an “afterthought”, and that the new pledge will put them at the centre of decision making, “from pregnancy to adolescence and beyond”.
Signatories are expected to investigate low survival rates for children with certain conditions, such as cancer, or review local services to ensure they are young people friendly. 
According to the Department of Health (DH), this could include increasing numbers of specialist staff or making sure GPs are trained in children’s health. 
Dr Poulter said: “There is already a lot of good work going on, but we want the NHS to do even more to improve care. 
“The pledge we’re making today demonstrates how all parts of the system will play their part and work together to improve child health.” 
New action plan 
A “data revolution” to improve information exchange between the NHS and local authorities and a survey to get information on local health problems were also announced. 
DH said colour coded health maps will allow doctors and nurses to look at local trends for conditions like asthma or diabetes. 
The Chief Medical Officer will lead a new Children and Young People’s Health Outcomes Board, to ensure the issue stays at the top of the agenda. 
‘Huge range’ of actions
The Children and Young People’s Health Outcomes Forum was set up by the Government in January 2012 to identify key health issues.
More than 2,000 children, young people, families and healthcare professionals contributed to the work. 
According the government, the pledge is the start of a “huge range” of actions for improving health in the coming months. 

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