One year on

A (very unusual) year on from State of Child Health 2020, how do things look, and, what can we do about it?

Published: May 2021

When we published State of Child Health in March 2020, our intention was to undertake a review a year on. We did this after the publication of State of Child Health 2017, mapping the trends across indicators and RAG (Red, Amber, Green) rating the policy recommendations based on the progress Government had – or hadn’t – been making.

It’s fair to say the last year has not quite panned out as we had thought. The country, in a broad number of ways, looks different to this time last year. Practically, many of the data sets we would have expected to be updated have not been, because health resources and workforce have had to be diverted elsewhere. Similarly, it felt unfair to analyse progress on our public policy calls in a year that the Government has faced what has repeatedly been referred to as the biggest peacetime crisis in a generation.

Instead, we have done our analysis differently. Where there have been updated data on health indicators published, we have reflected on the graphs and charts of the different indicators on this site. We have also worked with project leads, Dr Ronnie Cheung and Dr Rakhee Shah, to seek their reflections – based on their practice and what they’ve heard via their own professional networks. We have spoken to our Officers in the devolved nations, too, to understand the perspectives from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively. And we’ve spoken to some young people from our RCPCH &Us network about how they feel about the year they’ve had, and what they need now. You can read their reflections on our blog, RCPCH Insight.

State of Child Health is the thread that runs through all of our public affairs engagement; it is highly unusual for it not to come up meetings we have with Ministers, MPs and Peers. So whilst we haven’t been able to produce an updated report, we have sent a briefing out to all MPs, relevant Ministers and peers interest in health and children’s issues.

We will continue to make the case for children and young people in the corridors and power, and we won’t rest until we know all children across the UK enjoy the best start in life.