Healthcare professionals are calling on the next government to put child health high on the agenda as members of the public show overwhelming support for a series of policies which would improve children’s health.
Reducing child death rates (76%), reducing rates of childhood cancer (77%) and ensuring consistent health service provision for children and young people across the UK (77%) were the top three child health issues that the public feel should be priorities for government commissioned by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.
The poll saw ComRes interview 2,118 UK adults online and also found that 64% of Britons support a ban on advertising food high in fat, sugar and salt on TV before 9pm.
Commenting on the findings Dr Hilary Cass, President of RCPCH said: “We often see policies hitting the headlines that are targeted at the aging population - increased funding for dementia research and additional dementia training for NHS workers are among the pledges that have been made in recent weeks. But whilst caring for our ageing population is important, it shouldn’t mean that children’s health falls to the wayside.
“This poll shows that the voting public care as much about child health as they do care for the elderly. Many health issues experienced later in life can be triggered during childhood. We need to better support children from infant to child, through to teen and into adulthood – we’ll only be able to do this by making small yet significant policy changes directly targeted to meet their needs.”
Further findings including that education which furthers child health should play a greater role in schools with nine in ten adults saying that they support the recommendation to teach children how to cook and about the nutritional value of food in schools in order to improve child health, and eight in ten support introducing compulsory personal, social and health education (PSHE) in primary and secondary schools, and that:
• 63% of the public back reallocating part of the NHS budget for urgent and emergency care to the prevention of illness (such as promoting active lifestyles and healthy eating) and provision of community care services
• 94% say children’s healthcare should be an important priority for the NHS (67% very important). 94% say care of the elderly should also be an important priority (65% very important).
• 69% see improving children and young people’s mental health as a high priority
• 77% of adults are in favour of supporting pregnant mothers to reduce risky behaviours during pregnancy such as smoking
• More than three in five adults (62%) say increasing the amount of money spent on research (e.g. clinical trials) to improve children and young people’s health should be a high priority
• 58% support reducing the national speed limit in built up areas to 20mph to attempt to reduce deaths from road traffic accidents.
To read the report in full visit www.comres.co.uk