Child abuse, alcohol misuse, disability and ethnicity issues are
being omitted from many health improvement plans for children and
young people, according to five children’s charities,
writes Natalie Valios.
Barnardo’s, the Children’s Society, NSPCC, NCB and NCH reviewed
the second round of health improvement plans. Since 1999, health
authorities have been required to take the lead in producing an
annual HImP, a multi-agency strategy to reduce social exclusion and
inequalities in health.
The review flags up the charities’ concern that the emphasis on
meeting national targets and priorities meant that some services
and issues were marginalised. Smoking and drug misuse were detailed
in most HimPs, while alcohol and solvent misuse were
Few plans mentioned strategies to prevent, detect and deal with
abuse, and there was little reference to the extra protection
needed by disabled children.
The needs of specific groups of children and young people, such
as those from ethnic minorities or asylum seekers, were generally
The review says that despite progress since 1999, it was
difficult to judge whether services were being delivered and to
what extent the health needs of young people were being met.
They highlighted a “minimalist approach” where few children and
young people were consulted on service development and the health
challenges they face.
“Improving Children’s Health” from NSPCC, publications and
information unit, 42 Curtain Road, London EC2A 3NH or email