Children playing outsideThe Children and Young People’s Health Outcomes Forum (CYPHOF) has welcomed progress and challenged the health system and children’s sector on where further improvements are needed in its first annual report.

This follows the forum’s initial report in July 2012, which recommended a number of reforms to improve child health in England. The latest CYPHOF publication reviews the progress made by Government, NHS England and other organisations in implementing these recommendations.

The CYPHOF has reported that the system has come a long way in a short time in putting in place changes that should lead to improved health outcomes for children. However, it states that there is a lot more to do to implement the remaining changes identified in its initial report.

Commenting on the report, Anna Feuchtwang, Chief Executive of the National Children’s Bureau, said: "The annual report shows that despite improvements, progress on child health outcomes has not been fast enough in children and young people’s health care services. Considerable progress has been made by the Forum to redress health inequalities by working with the health care providers, the voluntary sector, children and young people, practitioners and families, but more still needs to be done.

"The Forum’s report reminds us that there is far more to do. The UK has one of the highest under five child mortality rates in Europe.  If the UK had the same childhood mortality rate as Sweden, five fewer children would die every day. Like the Forum, we call on the next Government to urgently develop, and implement a strategy for improving the physical and mental health of children and young people. We want to see the voices of children and young people’s at the heart of that strategy. They tell us they want a greater say in decisions about their health services and individual care."

The forum's report highlighted that:
- children and young people with complex health and care needs - including those with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions who need palliative care - rely on there being an integrated, multi-agency approach to support them
- linking health, education and social care data by using the NHS Number could better integrate services for children and young people with complex health needs
- more evidence is needed on the impact of integration and transition, to ensure that integrated approaches to commissioning and provision are based on evidence.

The CYPHOF also set out a number of challenges which the health and care system needs to meet to improve support. These include making sure that the views of children and young people are sought and acted upon; and making sure that providers are given incentives to intervene early and deliver safe and sustainable services.