State of Child Health: Northern Ireland – two years on

Our 2017 State of Child Health report revealed alarming health inequalities between the UK’s most disadvantaged children and young people and their more affluent peers. Two years on, our scorecard for Northern Ireland assesses progress made against our State of Child Health policy recommendations. It reveals that the ongoing political deadlock in Northern Ireland has resulted in a stalled position for child health policy.

Despite some progress in areas including road safety, breastfeeding and home safety, the situation in Northern Ireland remains stark for children. The Child Deaths Overview Panel is yet to be implemented – despite the legislation to establish it being passed – making it harder to learn from child deaths in Northern Ireland and prevent cases reoccurring.

No progress has been made to tackle childhood obesity, despite a quarter of 2-15-year-olds classed as overweight or obese. The mental health of children and young people is progressively slipping into deeper levels of crisis.

The RCPCH is calling on all political parties to put an end to this damaging deadlock, put children’s health before politics and put child health at the top of the agenda before it is too late.