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Catch22 comments on the draft of the Health and Care Bill as it goes to second reading

As the Health and Care Bill has its second reading today, Catch22 considers the potential impact of the Bill on children and young people in its current form, and what is needed from the Bill to have the greatest outcomes for these groups.

07 December 2021

Health outcomes for children in the UK continue to be some of the worst in Europe – from child mortality through to childhood obesity. Only earlier this week a report found that 1 in 5 young people will rely on charity to get by this Christmas. If as a society we’re failing our most vulnerable, then as society, surely we are failing.

The Health and Care Bill, which has its second reading today, provides an opportunity to put children front and centre of health and social care reform. In order to achieve the Bill’s stated aim of long-term improvement of overall population health, there must be a focus on the future population – namely children and young people.

In its current form, the Bill falls short of identifying children and young people as their own distinct population.  We join others across the child sector in calling for amendments that consider children specifically; for example, the measures to enhance information sharing between agencies to improve health outcomes should explicitly apply to child health, not just adults. Integration of health and social care is vital, and the Better Care Fund is set to support that. But again, it is focused on supporting integration of services that predominately support adults.

We know from our own work with children who are at risk of exploitation or caught up in substance misuse, that an integrated and holistic approach to the health and care of children and young people will result in far greater impact and far better outcomes.  And that impact and those outcomes will be felt not only by the younger generation but by generations to come.

Kate Wareham  – Director of Young People and Families at Catch22


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