Urgent action is needed to support child health, says RCPCH following NAO report

The National Audit Office has today published its annual look at the NHS backlogs and waiting times in England, RCPCH responds.

In response, Dr Camilla Kingdon, President of RCPCH said: 

The latest data tells us that more than 288,000 children and young people are waiting for NHS treatment, and that 86,000 children have been waiting for more than 18 weeks. These statistics are stark and for children, such long delays are unacceptable as many treatments are age or developmental stage-critical.

However, the true figures could be higher; it is difficult to get a full or accurate measure of the paediatric backlog as community child health services are not included.

What we do know is that an action plan is needed urgently to tackle the backlogs and support child health across all the services, and across the country.

Furthermore, if the government is serious about giving every child the best start in life, regardless of their background, they need to produce a cross-departmental child health strategy with funding behind it and an evidence-based workforce plan to map the staff shortages and start tackling them so that we can offer the best care for children. As we continue to bear witness to the impact of lockdown on children’s lives these actions matter more than ever.