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The national service framework for children

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 26 April 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:891

Cinderella is ready for the ball

  1. Alan W Craft, president
  1. Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, London W1W 6DE

    Sir Ian Kennedy in his report into events surrounding the death of children undergoing heart surgery at the Bristol Royal Infirmary in the 1980s described the Cinderella services offered to children in the NHS.1 However, Cinderella had not even been to the ball. Children were often treated as little adults, requiring smaller beds and smaller meals. The government responded by appointing Professor Al Aynsley-Green as national director for children's services and asking him to chair a national service framework for children. The first module of this, relating to standards for hospital services, along with another document on emerging findings, and the long awaited report on neonatal services were published on 10 April 2003.24

    Professionals caring for children were stung by Kennedy's criticisms and have been awaiting the national service framework with great expectation. Paediatricians are delighted that more than £60m ($95m; €87m) has been allocated for implementation of the neonatal review over the next three years but somewhat disappointed that the national service framework itself comes with no money attached. So does that mean that nothing can be done to improve services for children? There is nothing revolutionary in the reports. They set out principles of care, which reiterate ideas that have been expounded since the Platt report …

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