First 1,000 Days – Wales consultation response

In 2017 we responded to the Children, Young People and Education Committee’s consultation on the First 1,000 Days. We welcome the commitment to focus on infants and very young children, as healthy children are more likely to become healthy adults.

The National Assembly’s Children, Young People and Education Committee exists to examine legislation on the education, health and wellbeing of the children and young people of Wales, including their social care. Their consultation into the first 1,000 days considered the extent to which the Welsh Government policies and programmes support the early parent role, before birth and during the first 2 years of a child’s life.

Our response

  • Early intervention improves child health outcomes and leads to significant savings to the NHS in the medium and long term.
  • The Healthy Child Wales Programme will ensure that every child aged 0 to 7 receives a constant range of services and could form the basis of a strategy for the whole of childhood that seeks to reduce child deaths, increase visibility of infants, children and young people in the debates about services that affect their wellbeing and ensure that Wales has the workforce to meet their needs.
  • Maternal health and wellbeing has a profound impact on the health of children. Being a healthy weight, breastfeeding and stopping smoking all improve health outcomes for both mothers and infants.
  • An estimated 200,000 Welsh children live in poverty and are more likely to experience negative health outcomes.
  • Wales has a robust child death review system and this is vital in informing the policy changes that are required in order to prevent avoidable deaths. Each year, an average of 210 infants, children and young people die in Wales (the majority of these are under one year of age).

Our recommendations

  • Our consultation response highlights overarching recommendations made in our State of Child Health report:
    • Welsh Government should develop and evidence-based child health and wellbeing strategy covering the whole of childhood. The strategy should include a clear accountability framework setting out responsibilities for professionals, the public and civil society as well as details about resources and funding to implement it.
    • Welsh Government should adopt a ‘child health in all policies’ approach to decision making, policy development and service design.
    • Health Education Wales should fund mandatory child health training for all GP trainees.

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: health.policy@rcpch.ac.uk