State of Child Health: Wales - one year on

In January 2017, we published a report the State of Child Health. This contained a series of policy recommendations for Wales and made the human and economic case for child health to be a top priority for Government and public services. It served as a call to action and a vision of what could be achieved. What happened one year on?

In the year since the report’s publication, there have been positive developments and important commitments made in Wales. These include the passing of the Public Health (Wales) Act, an important achievement that will help protect children and young people from the serious harm caused by tobacco.

It is encouraging that work is also being done in other areas we highlighted. A strategy is in development to tackle obesity in children; legislation to introduce a much-needed minimum unit price for alcohol is at scrutiny stage; a Parliamentary Review has led to a national conversation about the future of health and social care services; a task and finish group is working on proposals to increase the worryingly low rate of breastfeeding; and curriculum reform provide real opportunity to improve health and wellbeing, and sex and healthy relationship education, as young people consistently say they need.

However, there is much more to be done. We are particularly concerned about the impact of poverty on child health, a central theme in the State of Child Health. The challenge the Welsh Government must meet is to implement real action that will improve and save young lives, and offer this and future generations a healthier and happier future. We welcome the recognition by Government that improving child health requires leadership by them and action across society. We reiterate our call for clarity on how this bold vision will be achieved, and we reaffirm our commitment to working with Government, public services and stakeholders towards realising these goals.

Improving child health benefits everyone - today’s children, tomorrow’s adults, and the health and economic prosperity of the nation - and everyone has a contribution to make.