RCPCH raising the profile of child poverty to demand action

Child poverty is a key campaigning issue for RCPCH, and we are appalled that four million children in the UK are living below the breadline. Yet this is only set to get worse with the current rising cost of living and the widening inequalities as a result of COVID-19.
RCPCH London office

RCPCH has been highlighting these issues in the press, which you will have seen recently in the BMJ (paywall), the Guardian and the Sunday Times (paywall). We continue to call on governments to take action across the UK, and our specific policy calls are outlined for all in State of Child Health. 

Paediatricians, NHS leaders and child health professionals share our worries, as was made clear by our 2022 conference in June. We know that it is getting tougher to help the child in front of you, because the ‘sickness’ is going well beyond our remit of work; housing quality, lack of nutritious food, feeling cold, poor air quality; these are all things that happen beyond the health system. 

We don’t want to be complacent however, and at RCPCH we want to help paediatricians and of course the children we collectively look after as far as we can. Therefore, in the next few months we plan to publish:

  • A position statement on poverty as a driver of health inequalities in childhood – a tool for the College to lobby governments to take action and to support members with local advocacy
  • A toolkit on our website for paediatricians to support patients suffering from the impact of poverty, low wealth and inequalities, as well as steps you may wish to take to advocate locally for the children and young people you look after 
  • Sharing best practice and signposting to project to help paediatricians to get started with local improvement projects to design services that focus on reducing health inequalities 

This work will be considered by children and young people through RCPCH &Us to make sure it sounds right and works for the children we are ultimately hoping to look after. This is the first year of our three year strategy seeking to influence and advocate on health inequalities. We look forward to sharing future plans with you as they develop.  

If you need support right now or further ideas, our Quality Improvement website portal might be useful, so please do have a look. 

In the meantime, if you are a UK based paediatrician – please respond to our short survey on the impact of the rising cost of living on clinical practice. It only takes 2 minutes and your input is critical for national advocacy in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

If you have any particular case studies relating to child poverty, the cost of living crisis or health inequalities, do get in touch with us on health.policy@rcpch.ac.uk or submit information relating to your local project to our portal.