Making child health a priority this Election - President’s blog

Steve reflects on his first ten weeks as RCPCH President, emphasises the importance of child health in the forthcoming General Election, updates us on new whooping cough resources and how you can get involved in the College's work.
Prof Steve Turner

The ten weeks since I started in post have flown by. It has been a busy time, my diary and list of contacts have had lots of new entries. But it has also been a (surprisingly) enjoyable time, during which I have met with lots of members and children. I have also met with presidents of other colleges, representatives from nursing and midwifery communities, the BMA, GMC, children’s charities, NHS managers and a few politicians.

My reflections on this speed-date-like succession of meetings are that (i) everyone sees how our NHS is struggling to meet demand (ii) we need more NHS staff and (iii) the way NHS staff practice must change to meet the present and future demand. Details on exactly how to effect this transformation are less clear! But as clinicians, our members are ideally placed to inform and deliver change. And as a membership organisation, our College is ideally placed to support members in the UK and overseas.

Especially as we now have the results from our membership survey.

Many thanks to the thousands of members who responded to our membership survey. We now have insight into the day-to-day challenge members face in their workplace. And we know what members need to support them in their careers. The survey collected a lot of information and we have just published what I think are the most important set of results from the survey.

Our College’s response to the survey will take two forms. Firstly, we will better highlight resources which members wanted, but which are already available. Secondly, we will develop new resources which members seek, with the caveat that we cannot meet every request. Paediatricians are generous and kind people, our members' main priority is to deliver the best possible care for patients, and the College is here to help you as we collectively change to meet the needs of today’s children and young people.

Ask your parliamentary candidates to prioritise child health and paediatrics! 

The General Election is a fantastic opportunity to make your voice heard and encourage local candidates to support children's health and paediatrics. As such, we have put together a range of resources for you including:

  • a template email outlining the importance of prioritising children and young people in a changing world – that can be sent to your local candidates
  • a series of FAQs around the election and what this means for the College and you as a member
  • and a leaflet for members on the calls in our Manifesto.

Ask your parliamentary candidates to prioritise child health

New whooping cough poster and web resources

Whooping Cough cases continue to rise around the UK, and Europe. To support you and colleagues we’ve joined up with the Royal Colleges for GPs, Midwives and Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to produce a new whooping cough poster (PDF). Please print off and put on clinical walls where you can. You can also find out more information for your team and those in your care in our joint statement and poster on whooping cough.

Join the RCPCH team with our range of opportunities available now

Two of your College Officers are leaving their post and I’d like to thank them both. Dr Mo Akindolie, who I worked closely with in her role as Assistant Registrar, is off to a fantastic research opportunity in the US. Dr Ray Nethercott is our Officer for Ireland, he and I were nations officers through the pandemic, and I know how Ray has worked ceaselessly for the College and paediatricians in Ireland and Northern Ireland for the past five years. Personally and on behalf of the staff and members, it has been a pleasure and honour to work with you both.

This leaves us seeking applicants for these two posts, along with several others, eg Officer for Genomics, Lead for our Facing the Future standards update. Many opportunities for you to get involved in your College close at 10.30 on Monday 10 June – Please take a look and consider becoming active in your College! 

Find out more and get involved!

And finally – a note on the power of youth!

This week it has been a pleasure to celebrate Power of Youth Day and Volunteers Week with RCPCH &Us volunteers including young people, parents, carers and paediatricians, who came together for the 2024 RCPCH &Us Volunteer Awards. The event was planned by young people who thought of everything - from a find the star child game (the icon in the College logo), to having a head and shoulders fancy dress show (I donned my cycling helmet, glasses and hi vis, not knowing that I’d have to disclose this here!), presentation of the awards and sharing what volunteering means to us.

It is staggering to think that over the last year, over 1,600 children, young people and family members have volunteered 2,500 hours with the engagement programme. This has included working with paediatricians and College staff to help children and young people to help us on our journey of transforming paediatrics and child health. Congratulations to all the award winners and huge thanks to everyone involved.

Wishing you all my very best,


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