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Public health concern for child health

A workforce survey published today by by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) finds that:

  • More than one in four general paediatric posts at senior trainee level are now vacant,
  • To keep services running, consultants are increasingly providing unplanned cover in addition to covering own roles,
  • More than half of paediatric units are not meeting recommended staffing standards, and
  • Four out of five (89%) clinical directors are concerned about how service will cope in the next six months.

Commenting on the report's findings, Professor John Middleton, President of the Faculty of Public Health said: “This report should ring alarm bells for the entire health and social care sector in England. Early development is strongly associated with many positive outcomes in later life, including achieving more at school and having more chances of being employed. 

"A lack of investment in child health will cost us all in the long-term, not least in terms of increased costs for the NHS, because it is far cheaper to prevent illness than treat it at a later date. Paediatricians are also part of the preventive services which determine whether children have a good chance in life. We should also be concerned at loss of capacity in health care to keep the whole system going.
We agree with the RCPCH that a multi-disciplinary approach will benefit children. The NHS and local authorities need to work together to make the best use of the skills of public health practitioners and others who can help provide children with a good start in life.”

Written: 16/08/2016 , last modified: 27/10/2016