Children’s health and the financial crisis

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b1783 (Published 15 May 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1783
  1. Terence Stephenson, President
  1. 1Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, 5-11 Theobald’s Road, London WC1X 8SH
  1. terence.stephenson{at}nottingham.ac.uk

    Children’s services should not be an easy target to save money

    In 2007, a Unicef report ranked the United Kingdom bottom of 21 developed countries in measures of child wellbeing.1 The Children’s Commissioner for England said that this had resulted in “a generation of young people who are unhappy, unhealthy, engaging in risky behaviour.” Three further reports this year suggest that the care of British children is still falling short.2 3 4

    The Good Childhood Inquiry, published in February 2009 by the Children’s Society, received evidence from 30 000 children, adults, and professionals.2 It concluded that British children are unhappy, largely because of parental behaviour, especially mothers going to work.

    Children might be unhappy but are they healthy? A week later, the Department of Health and Department for Children, Schools, and Families launched Healthy Lives, Brighter Futures, the long delayed child health strategy for England.5 A government child health strategy should be a big event and something to celebrate. Healthy lives, Brighter futures claimed that children and young people growing up in England are healthier than ever.

    The infant mortality rate is a quarter of what it was in 1960. Pneumococcal vaccine averted 470 cases and 28 deaths in its first 18 months. Vaccination against cervical …

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