20 Royal Colleges and professional bodies team up to improve child health outcomes in Wales

The Welsh Royal Colleges Child Health Collaborative (WRCCHC) has written to the First Minister of Wales to ask how his government will improve child health and support the workforce that cares for them.
Wales flag - red dragon on green and white background

The WRCCHC aims to ensure a sharper focus and understanding on the current and necessary support for the babies, children and young people and the workforce they represent. As a collaborative of Royal Colleges and professional bodies, the WRCCHC have expertise in pharmacy, nursing, public and oral health as well as professions in primary, secondary and community care. 

Recently both the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Academy of Medical Sciences published stark reports that highlight the wide-ranging evidence of declining health among children. Health professionals echo the stark warning in these reports as they see every day the impact of poor child health, the disproportionate impact of health inequalities on children and the consequence of this on people’s long-term health and wellbeing. 

Major health issues like infant mortality, obesity and tooth decay are not only damaging the nation’s youngest and their future, but also the nation’s economic prosperity. The issues seen today will impact the health of future generations, our economic potential and will cost more to address in the future. 

You can download the letter below

Dr Nick Wilkinson, RCPCH Officer for Wales, said: 

We see every day the lasting impact child health inequalities and the devastating impact of poor child health on the child and their families. 

Recent figures and reports show that we cannot continue the way we are and there needs to be a change in attitudes and a shift in perspective.  

This is why we have convened the Welsh Royal Colleges Child Health Collaborative and have urgently asked the First Minister how his government will improve child health and support the workforce. 

Together as 20 royal colleges and professional bodies, we want to urgently work with the Welsh government to improve health outcomes. 

In Wales we have a chance to do things different, to invest in the workforce and promote the health of current and future generations. I hope the Welsh government will seize this opportunity and I look forward to the First Minister’s response. 
Dr Rowena Christmas RCGP Wales Cymru Board Chair, said: 

Societal inequalities are proven to have a negative effect on child health that can persist into adulthood. We have a duty to preserve the health and wellbeing of our children and young people, and as healthy children become healthy adults, there is a strong economic argument for this. 

A fragmented approach to children and young people’s health will not lead to a healthy and prosperous nation, so the Welsh Royal Colleges Child Health Collaborative plan to work together to ensure that policy makers take child health seriously. 
Pippa Cotterill,  Royal College of Speech and Language Therapist Head of Wales Office , said 

The RCSLT warmly welcomes the launch of the Welsh Royal Colleges Child Health Collaborative. The pandemic has had a huge impact on the lives of children and young people. There has never been a greater need for professional organisations to come together to push for improvements to support for babies, children and young people in Wales. 

Michelle Moseley, RCN Wales Education and Lifelong learning adviser, said: 

RCN Wales supports a child-centred and children’s rights approach to health and wellbeing services in CYP. Early intervention and prevention services can promote health, tackle inequalities and support the public health agenda. To give children the best start in life there must be further investment into health visiting and school nursing roles to support parents and carers and to optimise life chances for our future generations.  

Dr Bethan Phillips, British Psychological Society Co-Chair of the Welsh Division of Clinical Psychology, said: 

Good health enables children to reach their physical, cognitive, and emotional developmental milestones, widening their opportunities to engage in education, community, and family life. It forms the foundation of their health and wellbeing in adulthood.

BPS is proud to be part of this large collaborative in Wales seeking to secure improvements in children’s health. The Welsh government must now put children first to ensure that they, and those who support them, are at the forefront of future policies and service development.

Dr Geraldine McCaffrey, Chair of Royal Pharmaceutical Society Wales 

Evidence and consistent feedback from families and the paediatric health workforce, including specialist paediatric pharmacists, indicates that a renewed focus on paediatric and child health is required. 

We hope the Welsh Government listen to our concerns and commits to working closely with the newly established WRCCHC so that children and families in Wales get the highest level of health care and support. 

The letter to the First Minister is endorsed by:

  1. Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health  
  2. Royal College of General Practitioners  
  3. British Dental Association 
  4. British Psychological Society 
  5. Chartered Society of Physiotherapists 
  6. College of Paramedics 
  7. Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine 
  8. Faculty of Public Health 
  9. Royal College of Emergency Medicine 
  10. Royal College of Midwives  
  11. Royal College of Nursing  
  12. Royal College of Occupational Therapists 
  13. Royal College of Pathologists  
  14. Royal College of Physicians  
  15. Royal College of Podiatry 
  16. Royal College of Psychiatrists  
  17. Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists 
  18. Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh 
  19. Royal Pharmaceutical Society 
  20. Society of Radiographers