In 2018, we responded to the Health and Social Care Select Committee’s inquiry into the first 1,000 days of life. We support efforts to improve the first 1,000 days, recognising how important they are for children’s health and development in later life.
The role of the Health and Social Care Select Committee is to examine the Department of Health and Social Care’s policies. Their inquiry into the first 1,000 days of life is available online. The inquiry plans to focus on three key areas: national strategy, current spending and barriers to investment and local provision.
- Evidence has shown that early interventions in childhood will create healthier adult populations and significantly reduce NHS spending in the medium and long term.
- Maternal health is vital to the outcomes of children, especially in their early years.
- Increasing levels of children living in poverty has caused health inequalities for children. Children who live in households experiencing deprivation are more likely to have poor health outcomes.
- Cuts to public spending have reduced the capacity to provide public health services, which are vital for supporting mothers and children in the first 1,000 days.
- Paediatricians, health visitors and maternity services play a vital role in supporting mothers and children in the first 1,000 days. However, workforce shortages have been identified across paediatrics and health visiting.
- The Health and Social Care Select Committee should focus on a number of key priorities, including: infant mortality, smoking during pregnancy, breastfeeding and immunisation. For each of these, the outcomes are exacerbated for children in poverty.
- Mothers should be supported during pre-conception, the antenatal period, labour and birth, and the post-natal period.
- The Health and Social Care Select Committee should acknowledge the role poverty plays in the first 1,000 days and implement recommendations to ease these inequalities.
- Funding for public health services should be increased and maintained.
- Services should be appropriately funded and staffed to deliver high quality care.
We respond to a wide range of consultations to ensure that the College’s position, and ultimately children’s health, is represented. Members can get involved in current consultations by contacting the Health Policy team: email@example.com.