Policy archived updates

The policy update archive gives a roundup of the key health policy articles, dated back to 2012. 

Visit the RCPCH news pages for a full news archive

December 2013 

RCPCH briefing on the ONS child mortality statistics (PDF, 125KB, 5 Pages) 

October/November 2013

November 2013 Health Policy e-bulletin (PDF, 32KB)

RCPCH briefing on the Children and Young People's (Scotland) Bill

Managing Service Change - Reconfiguring for improvement (Thursday 6 February 2014)

The Paediatricians in Medical Management Committee is hosting its winter event focusing on practical tools and good practice in reconfiguration.  Aimed primarily at clinical leads, but also commissioners and their colleagues who are considering facing or undergoing significant service change in paediatrics or child health services, the workshop will include sessions on:

  • Standards, data and QI - making the case for change
  • Examples of where change has happened effectively
  • The national perspective - networks, workforce and how these will influence your local service
  • Take home actions - what might work for you

August/September 2013 

View the August/September 2013 health policy e-bulletin (PDF, 83KB, 3 pages)

Position statement on reconfiguration

The RCPCH has recently published a position statement on reconfiguration. The statement outlines the fundamental needs of the healthcare system, and the problems that can arise if standards are not met. It then summarises the main arguments behind reconfiguration, including its ability to address clinical quality, workforce pressures and the challenges of the current economic climate, as well as the barriers to change to date. The position statement also highlights ten key principles for reconfiguration, making four major calls.  

Guidance on vitamin D 

The RCPCH campaign on vitamin D was launched with the release of its position statement in December 2012. This statement made nine key recommendations, including practical signposting to guidance. Since, the RCPCH has been working to produce better, accessible guidance for paediatricians and is delighted to announce that a short leaflet will be published in the Autumn edition of Focus. Look out in October and please contact the Health Policy team for more information.

Select Committee response on Urgent and Emergency Care

The Health Select Committee has published its response to the Inquiry on Urgent and Emergency Care, outlining the national failures and great demands of the emergency care system. The response identifies key issues within the system that contribute to these problems, such as fragmented provision of care and the inflexibility of A&E departments in terms of standards and structure. 

NHS England response to its consultation on specialised services 

NHS England has published the response to its consultation on specialised services specifications and commissioning policies. Appendix 5 (page 60) contains the response relating to the women and children’s programme of care. All 35 service specifications will be adopted with minimal changes to the documents consulted on.

July 2013

July 2013 health policy e-bulletin (PDF, 69KB, 2 pages)

RCPCH co-signs letter urging action on childhood mortality from all councils in the country

RCPCH President, Hilary Cass, has signed a letter alongside PHE Chief Executive Duncan Selbie and Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter MP. The letter urges local authorities to take action to 'tackle the unacceptable variation in the quality of care for children and young people', in an effort to help reduce health inequalities. 

Read the letter (PDF, 175KB, 6 pages)

Introduction to Quality Improvement and Patient Safety

Quality Improvement is something which we are all involved in. in your role, you are in an ideal position to see areas that need improvement, whether it is about access to resources, more support, poorly functioning systems, wasting of resources by unnecessary duplication or poor communication then this is where you can bring these to the attention of your department and work together to make the patient journey safer and more efficient. 
The RCPCH hosted a one-day event on 24 September in its series of courses on Quality Improvement and Patient Safety. 

Paediatric medical workforce census

The 2011 medical workforce census is now available to download from our website at www.rcpch.ac.uk/census

The census reports a 1.4% decrease in career grade workforce since 2009; compared to a 9.6% increase between 2007 and 2009. This fall is due to a significant decrease in the number of SSASG doctors; 17% fewer than in 2009. The College is currently preparing for the start of its 2013 census, which will be sent to clinical directors to complete shortly after the census date of 30 September 2013.

If there has been a recent change of clinical director in your organisation, please contact the workforce team at workforce@rcpch.ac.uk.

June 2013

June 2013 health policy e-bulletin (PDF, 85KB, 3 pages)

Interim specifications for specialised commissioning

NHS England has published its interim specifications for specialised commissioning, and those for children and young people should be available on the individual pages for Clinical Reference Groups.

Back to Facing the Future featured in Health Service Journal

Following the publication of Back to Facing the Future in April 2013, Peder Clark, former Health Policy Lead at RCPCH, published an article in HSJ outlining his thoughts on redesigning children’s health services (subscription may be required).

May 2013

May 2013 health policy e-bulletin (PDF, 84KB, 3 pages)

Children and Young People Committee Inquiry into childhood obesity 

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) welcomes this invitation to provide evidence to the Welsh Government Children and Young People Committee Inquiry into childhood obesity

Discussion paper on Payment by Results

NHS England and Monitor have published a discussion paper asking “How can the NHS payment system do more for patients?” Responses to the paper are invited by 19 July 2013 and can be completed here.

Emergency care consultation

The RCPCH responded to a House of Commons Select Committee consultation on emergency care. The response is available to read here, and the terms of reference of the consultation here.

Paediatric Emergency Care Conference 2013
After the success of 2012’s conference, which followed the publication of the latest version of the Standards for Children and Young People in Emergency Care Settings, this one-day event aims to educate and inform health professionals from across the disciplines. 
The day will involve expert speakers, facilitated discussion and case study workshops and will not only highlight the guidelines from the document, but will also focus on presentations requiring ‘additional consideration’. View more and register
Contact: RCPCH Events events@rcpch.ac.uk 0207 092 6106
Meeting the challenge of the national child health pledge
The half-day NHS Confederation event will bring together commissioners, providers of child health services and public health leads to explore how to improve children’s health within a newly reformed NHS. 
For more information or to book:

April 2013

April 2013 health policy e-bulletin(PDF, 77KB, 2 pages)

Back to Facing the Future: An audit of acute paediatric service standards in the UK
Last month the RCPCH published Back to Facing the Future, its report on the 10 acute paediatric service standards published in April 2011. The report received widespread press coverage and is available on our website.
The RCPCH would like to thank those who participated in the audit. The RCPCH has produced bespoke briefings for every hospital that responded to the audit. If you are a clinical director and are interested in your hospital’s performance, please email the team. The RCPCH is also making available the audit tools that it used so that units can carry out their own internal audits. Please request these from the team.
Commissioning a good child health service

The RCGP, in partnership with RCPCH and RCN, has published a guide for commissioners on what a good child health service should provide. The guidance is primarily targetted at nascent Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and is available to read here.

Child Health in the UK: The Future

11-12 April 2013 saw the RCPCH’s inaugural workforce planning conference held in Manchester. Almost 200 delegates attended and heard from a range of speakers including Dr Jackie Cornish, the new National Clinical Director for Children, Young People and Transition to adulthood and Professor Ian Lewis, Co-chair Children and Young People’s Health Outcomes Forum.

The presentations can be found here and the College will be following up with a set of action points for workforce planning for child health.

March 2013

March 2013 health policy e-bulletin(PDF, 103KB, 3 pages)

Francis Inquiry consultation
The government published its initial response to The Report of The Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry on Tuesday 26 March. It makes some significant announcements for the NHS, including the appointment of a Chief Inspector of Hospitals, a refocused Care Quality Commission and the publication of a single aggregated score for each hospital, with the possibility in time to “drill down to information at a department, specialty, care group and condition-specific level”. Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP’s Written Ministerial Statement is available to read here, and the full response here.
Following the publication last month of Robert Francis QC’s report into the failings in care at Mid Staffs between 2005 and 2009, the College has considered the report’s recommendations and implications for its work and wider paediatrics. RCPCH has produced a summary of the report and is consulting with its members on our formal response. To complete the survey, please click here (RCPCH member number required).”
New national guidance for safeguarding children
The Department for Education has published Working Together to Safeguard Children 2013, which replaces the previous edition and acts as revised statutory guidance on safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people. The single document is substantially shorter than previous editions and aims to cover the legislative requirements and expectations for all agencies and professionals. 
The NHS Commissioning Board have also recently published Safeguarding Vulnerable People in the Reformed NHS: Accountability and Assurance Framework which builds on Working Together and provides more detailed advice on how NHS organisations can fulfil their responsibilities and this should be read by all health professionals in conjunction with the statutory guidance.
RCPCH joins health professionals in tackling health inequalities

Along with 18 other health professional bodies, the RCPCH has committed to reduce health inequalities in Working for Health Equity: The Role of Health Professionals, the recently published document from the UCL Institute for Health Equity, led by Professor Sir Michael Marmot. Children have no control over the socioeconomic conditions into which they are born, making them vulnerable and entirely dependent on others in the first stages of their lives. Their experiences, decision-making and lifestyle choices are all heavily influenced by the people and environment that surrounds them and poverty has a significant impact on the material living standards and the general well-being of children, in addition to their opportunities and chances.

Paediatricians should be well-equipped to not only recognise problems that indicate child poverty and health inequalities, but also to intervene and treat these problems as early as possible to prevent long term consequences to health.Tackling these inequalities will help to give children the best possible start in life and the ability to maximise their capabilities. The College aims to take steps in the areas of awareness, training and development within the health profession, public and patient awareness, and promotion and advocacy.

February 2013

February 2013 health policy e-bulletin(PDF, 76KB, 3 pages)

Francis inquiry finally published

The inquiry into the failures in care at the NHS Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust, led by Robert Francis QC, has published its final report. The report extends to three volumes, and makes 290 recommendations. The RCPCH will be producing a detailed briefing on the report from a paediatric perspective, and the executive summary is available to read here.

Government response to the Children and Young People’s Health Outcomes Forum

The RCPCH and 16 other organisations have signed a pledge to improve child health and reduce premature mortality as part of the government’s response to the Children and Young People’s Health Forum report in July 2012. The report is available to read here, and the RCPCH’s response is available to read here.

Health policy consultations

The RCPCH has responded to three policy consultations this month. The Welsh Government held a consultation as it sought to collect views on whether there should be a public health bill in Wales; the Department for Work and Pensions and Department for Education jointly held a consultation to consider inclusion of a multidimensional measure of child poverty; and the Home Office also held a consultation on alcohol strategy, in which they have proposed further measures to reduce excessive drinking.

View our responses


January 2013

January 2013 health policy e-bulletin (PDF, 80 KB, 3 pages)

Child Health in the UK | The Future, 11 - 12 April 2013, University of Manchester
At a time of economic pressure, the NHS is undergoing some of the biggest changes since its inception. Our actions will be crucial to safeguarding the safety and quality of the services we provide for the next decade.
The conference will stimulate new thinking on how we can build a better and more sustainable health service for children.
Specialised services consultation
The College has responded to the NHS Commissioning Board’s consultation on the commissioning of specialised services. The response builds on consultation with a number of the College’s special interest groups, many of whom have already contributed to the development of service standards. The original consultation is available to read here.
View the response (PDF, 94KB, 5 pages)
Consultation on the NHS Constitution
RCPCH has responded to the DH’s consultation on strengthening the NHS Constitution, including proposals to emphasize patient choice and involvement, responsibilities and rights of patients and staff, a ‘duty of candour’ and the importance of both physical and mental health. The College supports the main changes, restating previous messages but stressing also that children and young people, parents and carers should have more opportunities for involvement and consultation.

December 2012

December 2012 health policy e-bulletin (PDF, 77KB, 2 pages)

RCPCH Annual Lecture
The RCPCH hosted its inaugural Christmas lecture on 10 December. The College invited Professor Richard Wilkinson, author of The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better, to speak to around 80 guests and members. Highlights of the presentation will be available on the RCPCH’s website shortly.
RCPCH releases position statement on Vitamin D

The RCPCH has produced a position statement on vitamin D in its first steps to increase awareness of vitamin D deficiency amongst both health professionals and the public. The statement also highlights calls for further research in the links between the vitamin and bone health, as well as further surveillance to monitor the prevalence of deficiency. 

View the full statement


November 2012

View the November 2012 health policy e-bulletin (PDF, 105KB, 4 pages)

NHS Commissioning Board guidance on specialised services

The NHS CB has published its latest guidance on the commissioning of specialised services, most of which will be the responsibility of the Board following the recommendationsof the Clinical Advisory Group for Prescribed Services in September. Securing equity and excellence in commissioning specialised servicesdescribes the commissioning structure for specialised services and how this will integrate with Strategic Clinical Networks (including those for Women and Children) and Local Area Teams, as well as how they will engage with patient engagement and clinical input.

securing equity and excellence_0.JPG

Facing the Future Audit update

Thank you to everyone who submitted a response from their Trust to the first stage of the Facing the Future audit. The team have now moved on to the second stage of ‘deep-dive’ unit visits across the UK, which we anticipate completing in early December. We will be publishing the final national report of the audit in Spring 2013, alongside bespoke briefings for each Trust that responded to our request.

View more information on the audit and Facing the Future

Guidance on under-16 pregnancy checks

Determining pregnancy status in young female patients under 16 years of age is an area that clinicians may find difficult.  Whilst regulators state it is required before surgical or radiological procedures the ethical, practical and contextual considerations can compromise compliance with good practice.

This practical guide sets out the considerations and approaches that NHS organisations may consider when developing their policies in this area.  Supported by all the major professional clinical bodies and backed with evident statistics and tools it aims to support local members in brokering conversations and agreement around this sensitive process. 

See more about pregnancy checks

September 2012

September 2012 health policy e-bulletin (PDF, 88KB, 4 pages)

Ministerial reshuffle and pictorial representation of the reforms

Jeremy Hunt MP has replaced Andrew Lansley as Secretary of State for Health in the Prime Minister’s autumn reshuffle. Hunt has a new ministerial team to work with as well, with Norman Lamb, Anna Soubry and Dr Daniel Poulter stepping into the roles of Minister for Care Services, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health respectively. Dr Poulter will have responsibility for children’s health.

Simultaneously, the Department of Health has produced a visual representation of the new structures in the NHS from April 2013:

August 2012

August 2012 health policy e-bulletin (PDF, 69KB, 3 pages)

July 2012

July 2012 health policy e-bulletin (PDF, 84KB, 5 pages)


shutterstock_57353584 quality highlighted WEB.jpgRecent publications

For child protection publications, click here

Looked after children 2012 

The RCPCH and RCN have published an intercollegiate role framework Looked after children: knowledge, skills and competences of health care staff. Visit the looked after children web page for more information. 

Standards for Children and Young People in Emergency Care Settings 2012

Visit the emergency care webpage for more information

RCPCH Postition Statements

Download our Vitamin DChildhood Obesity and Breastfeeding position statements here.

Bringing Networks to Life: An RCPCH guide to implementing clinical networks 2012

Visit our networks web page for more information. 


Children and young people's health - where next? 2011

This publication, produced by the RCPCH, NHS Confederation and the Office of Public Management (OPM), builds on a stakeholder event with sector leaders in early September 2011, and presents a consensus view on the impact of the recent health reforms on children’s health, as well as recommendations on how they might be improved. Download the document (PDF, 616KB, 24 pages)


Involving Children and Young People in Health Services 2011

Accompanying the publication children and young people's health: where next?, is a challenging new report ensuring the views and experiences of children and young people are at the heart of NHS reforms. See the webpage  


shutterstock_69113692 Qhand_0.jpgPolicy projects: 2012

 Auditing the Facing the Future standards for acute general paediatrics

The College is currently auditing the 10 service standards outlined in Facing the Future, as promised in the original document (p.6, April 2010). We wrote to NHS trust chief executives this summer, before sending out the survey to clinical directors two weeks later. If you would like more information, please email Isobel Howe, Health Policy Lead.

Intercollegiate Healthcare Standards for Children and Young People in Secure Settings (CYPSS)

RCPCH is leading a new project, funded by the Youth Justice Board, to develop and implement a set of standards for the planning and provision of healthcare for children and young people in secure settings. Visit the secure settings web page for more information.