Paediatricians welcome the inclusion of health inequalities in the Welsh Government Child Poverty Strategy

Today (23 January) the Welsh Government has published its Child Poverty Strategy 2024.
Wales flag - red dragon on green and white background

In response to the publication, Dr Nick Wilkinson, RCPCH Wales Officer says: 

Paediatricians know firsthand that children living in poverty are more likely to have poorer health outcomes and experience health inequalities including low birth weight and poor physical and mental health. As such, we are pleased that the Welsh Government has officially recognised the link between poverty and health inequalities in their Child Poverty Strategy.  

The strategy has a welcome focus on health inequalities, with mentions in relation to food costs, mental health, housing and the implementation of 20mph. We are particularly pleased to see a section on ‘reducing health costs’ and ensuring a healthy start to life with the delivery of Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales, the Breastfeeding Action Plan and Baby Bundles.  

However, despite the positive inclusion of health inequalities, RCPCH Wales cannot overlook the fact the overall strategy has come up short. Many charities and organisations, including RCPCH Wales and the Children’s Commissioner, called on the Welsh Government to include clear targets and a way to monitor the strategy’s delivery robustly and transparently. It’s clear these calls were not listened to.  

The Welsh Government must now implement the Child Poverty Strategy effectively and without delay. They must also work to ensure its delivery can be appropriately monitored.