Heads of children’s social services have welcomed a new child health strategy as a key milestone towards truly integrated services for children and young people. They said the strategy would be another tool for Directors of Children’s Services to use in influencing decisions about health services.
The new Healthy Child Programme will involve schools promoting healthier lifestyles and will also see more investment in services for disabled children through Primary Care Trusts. The Association of Directors of Children’s Services believes this will strengthen partnership working.
Anna Baxter, who chairs the ADCS Health, Care and Additional Needs Policy Committee, said every child deserved support to lead a healthy lifestyle but clearly some young people needed more support than others. She added, “It is right that the health strategy recognises the wide variety of demands that children and young people place on health services, and importantly, that those needs are often very different from those of adults.”
She said the strategy would also help Directors of Children’s Services to influence decisions about health services in their areas. “It clearly lays out the expectation that health services are not just for the very sick and should not be isolated in hospitals or even doctors’ surgeries. School nurses, health visitors and even school PE teachers have their part to play in delivering the commitments that have been announced,” she said and added, “In many places health professionals are already key partners in delivering integrated services. The strategy will help to make this integration universal.”