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Government launches its Child Health Strategy

More help pledged for first-time parents and children with disabilities

OnMedica Staff

Thursday, 12 February 2009

The government today set out its vision for a children’s health service – supported by an injection of cash.

The joint strategy "Healthy lives, brighter future: the strategy for children and young people's health" – was published by Children's Secretary Ed Balls and Health Secretary Alan Johnson –and describes what children and their families can expect from child health services in their areas from birth through to the age of 19.

Key aspects of the plan include strengthening the role of Sure Start Children’s Centres, with each centre having access to a named health visitor, expanding the Family Nurse Partnerships programme to support first time mothers from 30 to 70 sites by 2011 and testing out a new antenatal programme and preparation for parenthood package for parents.

The plan also includes £340 million to support children with disabilities and their families to be invested in palliative care and end of life services, short breaks, community equipment and wheelchair services through Community Children’s Nursing services.

Health Secretary Alan Johnson, said: "The Child Health Strategy will help to ensure that healthcare and children's services work together to help every child to have a healthy and happy start to life."

Dr Simon Lenton, Vice President, Health Services, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) welcomed the announcement.

"The great thing about the strategy is that it comes with a significant amount of new money targeted around an area of genuine need. We would like to see some of this being spent on children with long-term conditions and complex needs, such as cerebral palsy.

"We will be delighted to play our part in making this strategy a reality. Paediatricians in the UK are at the forefront of working with children and young people with disabilities. We have always advocated working across boundaries for the good of children and we welcome the emphasis on a joined up approach." 

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