Children’s healthcare could become an isolated service
within the Department of Health under the government’s
proposals outlined in the children’s green paper, according
to the shadow chairperson of the Commission for Healthcare Audit
and Inspection, writes Clare Jerrom.
Speaking at the Great Ormond Street Hospital lecture, Ian
Kennedy highlighted that the green paper’s plans separated
children’s healthcare, which remains under the auspices of
the Department of Health, from all other activities relating to the
care and welfare of children, now centred in the Department for
Education and Skills.
The situation is confused, he highlighted, by
the fact that some areas of children’s healthcare fall within
the remit of the proposed new system of integrated inspection to be
led by the DfES while other areas including acute services appear
to be excluded from the new system.
Kennedy warned that the proposals left
CHAI’s ability to carry out its responsibilities to children
“in some doubt”.
“It would be a sad day if the progress
currently being made in relation to children’s healthcare
should be shipwrecked on inter departmental divisions of
responsibility, with all the opportunity for children to disappear
through the cracks which are the inevitable product of such
divisions,” he said.
Kennedy also raised concerns about models of
inspection because the green paper favours a periodic visit model
whereas CHAI believes that inspection should be carried out through
a variety of means not limited to visits.
“The model contemplated in the Green
paper may be appropriate in the context of child protection,”
he said. “But, healthcare is simply too complex to be
assessed by a visit every three years.
“Patients and professionals deserve
better,” he concluded.