drdanHealth Minister Dr Dan Poulter has made a new national pledge to reduce the UK's "shocking levels of child mortality" as part of a commitment to revolutionalise ambulance and hospital care for children and young people.

The new pledge, created with the help groups including the NHS Confederation and SOLACE, forms part of a series of actions to improve children's health announced by the Government this week [19 Feb] in response to recommendations from the Children and Young People's Health Outcomes (CYPHO) Forum.

Launching the pledge at an event at Guys & St Thomas Hospital, Dr Poulter said: “It is a shocking fact that child mortality in Britain is the worst when compared to other similar European countries.  There is unacceptable variation across the country in the quality of care for children – for example in the treatment of long-term conditions such as asthma and diabetes.

“We are determined that children and young people will be at the heart of the new health and care system. Too often in the past their needs have been an afterthought.

“Our pledge demonstrates how all parts of the system will play their part and work together to improve children’s health. There is already a lot of good work going on but we want the NHS to do even more to improve care for children and young people and reduce the mortality rate.”

By signing the pledge, he committed the government to do everything it can to improve the health of children and young people and improve services from emergency to aftercare & beyond in an effort to reduce avoidable deaths.

Actions recommended in Better health outcomes for children and young people - Our pledge include:
- Making sure children and young people are at the heart of the new health and care system and that their voices are heard.
- Starting a data revolution so that the NHS and local authorities get better information which they can use to improve the health of young people.
- A new Children and Young People’s Health Outcomes Board, which will make sure the issue stays top of the agenda by bringing health leaders together to improve children’s health.

Commenting on the announcement, Jo Webber, NHS Confederation interim director of policy, said: "The Government’s response clearly sets out the importance of effective joint working between agencies and professionals, putting the child at the centre of everything we do.

"In the current system where finances are tight and the number of organisations responsible for the looking after children’s health is increasing, there is a risk that services could become fragmented and children's care falls between the cracks.

"It is absolutely essential that organisations across health, social care and education maintain their focus on the task at hand and improve the connections between the services they plan and deliver. If we don't get this right, we simply won’t be doing enough to keep our children and young people as safe and healthy as they deserve to be."

Read the pledge in full at www.wp.dh.gov.uk/publications/files/2013/02/Pledge-web-version-1.pdf 

Posted 22/02/2013 by richard.hook@pavpub.com