Directors raise fears about impact of child obesity

The Association of Directors of Social Services today warned how social care leaders need to be involved in the debate around childhood obesity

ADSS Honorary secretary Liz Railton told the House of Commons health select committee that tackling obesity among young people needed activity beyond the boundaries of the NHS.

She said it was “vital” that the new arrangements for primary care trusts and the developing use of GPs to commission local services were aligned with the ways in which partners such as local government were mapping themselves onto local communities and ensuring responsive delivery to users.

Railton warned that public health analysis had given clear warnings that the generation of children currently growing up could be the first in several centuries to see their life expectancy reduce with the main cause being obesity.

A document submitted to the committee outlined social care directors fears including:-

• The haste at which such high impact changes are being discussed

• The initial exclusion of directors and local government from a debate that affects the delivery of social care

• The timing of the debate ahead of the proposed White paper and any meaningful discussions about how practice based commissioning might operate.

Railton also warned of the potential impact of these changes on the Every Child Matters agenda which includes implementing a new national health service framework for children.

“This programme has only a fragile foothold within the NHS at present and there are fears of future distraction,” she concluded.

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