Our work on the UK General Election

The latest general election in the UK took place on 4 July 2024. The results are in, and the College will make sure the new Government and opposition parties prioritise paediatrics and child health. This page outlines the story of our work ahead of the election.
UK General Election 2024 - Icons of candidate, ballot box, speech bubbles, document and megaphone | Background has repeatedicons of person and megaphone |

Launching the RCPCH Manifesto

In September 2023, we were one of the first Royal Colleges to publish our manifesto: Support children’s health and wellbeing in a changing world.

Former RCPCH President, Dr Camilla Kingdon, launched the manifesto in a blog where she explained this election was a crucial opportunity to speak up for children’s health. She highlighted concerns that as each week passed more data and stories came to light bearing witness to the fact that childhood in our country was simply not as good as it could be.

Our manifesto was framed by a call to parties to change how government worked for children and young people. We wanted to see political parties commit to:

  • establishing a cabinet level Minister for Children and Young People
  • adopting a child health in all policies approach
  • developing a cross-departmental Child Health and Wellbeing Strategy. 

Having our manifesto published early proved itself incredibly useful for College representatives including Senior Officers and Officers who were able to use it in discussions with MPs and party officials throughout the remainder of 2023 and into 2024. 

We even saw some positive early signs from political parties with commitments from Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats that aligned with our manifesto calls including on disposable vapes, child health and a children’s minister.

RCPCH manifesto update

With our new President, Professor Steve Turner, taking office in March came an update to the RCPCH Manifesto (download below). Our policy priority areas include:

  1. Prioritise child health services
  2. Support for the child health workforce
  3. Harness the power of data
  4. Promote the prevention of ill health
  5. Address children's mental health
  6. Strengthen child protection
  7. Tackle climate change

In his update, Steve emphasised that much more must be done to deliver the child health workforce our children deserve and that as a nation, we must take child wellbeing more seriously than we do at present. 

Engaging in coalitions

Our work around the UK General Election was not just limited to our own manifesto. As part of our effort to ensure decision-makers introduce the best public policy for children and young people, it can sometimes be more effective to work in coalition with other organisations.

As such, we endorsed several coalition manifestos and statements directed towards all the political parties. These included: 

UK General Election campaign

When the election was called on 22 May 2024, the College’s general election campaign swung into gear and we launched opportunities for members to get directly involved, social media activity and blog information on the political parties' manifestos.

Member campaign

Members were given the opportunity to engage in the general election campaign through our own e-action. This enabled members to email their prospective parliamentary candidates to share our manifesto priorities and ask them how they’ll prioritise child health and the NHS workforce.

It has been fantastic to hear from members who’ve engaged with their candidates directly and to see some of the responses from potential future MPs about how they will ensure the voice of paediatricians is heard in the UK Parliament. 

Social media

We shared our manifesto, member campaign and coalition work across our social media, including a ‘seven days seven priorities’ spotlight on X (Twitter), featuring our key priorities for the next UK Government. It’s been great to see members and other followers, like, comment and share our posts. You can check out some of our posts on X (Twitter) @rcpchtweets.

Manifesto commitments

Shortly before the election, Dr Mike McKean, our Vice President for Policy, outlined how the three main political parties’ manifestos shape up when it comes to child health and paediatrics, including how closely some of their recommendations align with ours.

What next

With the election outcome known, we will now be working hard on your behalf to raise the profile of child health and paediatrics with MPs across the political spectrum to ensure your voice is heard.