Skip to main content

Child Health

Volume 202: debated on Thursday 23 January 1992

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the Government are taking to reduce inequalities in child health.

[holding answer 20 January 1992]: The Government's approach to variations in the health of children and other groups was set in paragraphs 4.15 and 4.16 of the "The Health of the Nation" (Cm. 1523), a copy of which is in the Library. In particular, the Government have, as there explained, sought to tackle specific issues which can be targeted for effective action. Examples in the field of child health include guidance on children's needs for hospital services (already issued) and for community services (in preparation), improvements to record levels in the rates of immunisation to reduce death and disability from preventable diseases, increased participation by GPs in child health surveillance and increased emphasis on investigating the causes of perinatal deaths.In making such changes the Government will continue to make the best use possible of the improved systems now available for the delivery of health care, including the contractual arrangements with GPs and between purchasers and providers, and the new responsibilities of health authorities for assessing the health and health care needs of their local population and for the better integration of family, community and hospital services.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement about the future role of (a) general practitioners, (b) health visitors, (c) nurses and (d) clinical medical officers and senior clinical medical officers in the development of child health services.

[holding answer 20 January 1992]: In addition to general health services such as immunisation programmes, a key aspect of the development of child health services is the provision of child health surveillance. An important change, since the introduction in April 1990 of the new GP contract, has been the increase, to over 50 per cent., in the number of GPs now undertaking primary child health surveillance of children under five. As a consequence we are, with NHS management and the professions, taking steps to ensure that the respective duties of doctors, health visitor; and nurses in the community child health services are reviewed and updated. Health authorities are being issued with a core programme for child health surveillance prepared by the professions. A joint working party, with the conference of (medical) royal colleges and the British Medical Association, is also considering the integration of medical staff careers in the hospital and community child health services.