The ongoing pandemic has caused the drive to reduce health inequalities in children under five in the UK to stall according to a review by the Nuffield Foundation.
Children’s mental and physical health has been repeatedly impacted by the continuous series of lockdowns and date gathered from the Child Poverty Action Group has shown that 31 per cent of children in the UK were living in poverty in 2019/20.
Despite children being overall healthier than they were 20 years ago, progress in reducing health inequalities has been impeded by the pandemic. Infant mortality is still 30 per cent higher than the average amongst 15 EU countries.
The health and survival of children from affluential backgrounds is improving whilst life chances for children in poverty is becoming worse.
Dr Ingrid Wolfe, Director of the Institute for Women and Children’s Health, Kings Health Partners said: “A new approach to children’s health and social care at local level is needed, to ensure that the children who most need care are the first – not the last – to get it.
“This requires an approach that integrates services and systems, enabling better coordination among GPs, paediatricians, health visitors, school nurses and social workers.
“A systems-led approach to improving health care outcomes has been successfully tried in two of the most deprived areas of London.”
The Child Health Integrated Learning and Delivery approach has been designed by clinicians and researchers who work with families to enable early intervention to care for at risk children. It aims to reduce health inequalities through us of real-world data and a holistic approach to children’s health care.
The CHILDs Framework has shown a 50 percent reduction in emergency health service use for children with long-term conditions. Statistics on children with severe asthma also reduced by over 35 percent.
Dr Wolfe added: “As a country, we must rebuild a better, more equitable health system that delivers care proportionate to need. We know how to do this – now we need to act.”