Integration White Paper an important opportunity for child health

On 9 February the UK Government published a White Paper on health and care integration. This sets out a vision for integrated NHS and adult social services in England. RCPCH has responded.

Dr Camilla Kingdon, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said:

The integration of health and care services is especially important for children and young people’s health. Substantively joined-up, cross sector care can help drive improvements in child health outcomes and ensure children and young people can access the care they need, when they need it, and from the most appropriate person and team. This is especially true for vulnerable children or those with multiple needs and who regularly interact with a range of services.

We are particularly pleased that this paper recognises how important data and patient information is to effective integration. Barriers to sharing information and data is a key issue to joint working, commissioning, and research across the children’s system. This causes difficulties for paediatricians, and for children who repeatedly tell us they do not want to have to tell their story twice. These specific issues must be considered as part of the Government’s proposals.

The Government is right to emphasise that leaders are essential to bring partners together to deliver outcomes that really matter to people and populations. To fully grasp the opportunity that integration offers, we urge local systems to ensure there is strategic representation from children’s health and social services so that the specific needs of children and young people are not forgotten.

We look forward to being invited for views to further the Government’s understanding of how they can consider these policies to benefit children and young people, especially on crucial elements around workforce and health inequalities.