This month, the Health and Social Care Bill became and Act, and therefore law. This signals the fact that key changes are about to take place affecting the provision of all of healthcare, including children and young people's services.
This article outlines the recent key policy changes that came ahead of the Bill and looks at the challenges and opportunities for all healthcare practitioners working with children.
Healthy Lives, brighter futures: the strategy for children and young people's health, a joint strategy between the DH and the Department for Children, Schools and Families, published under the Labour government in 2009, stresses the importance of the early years.1
The work of Labour MP Graham Allen, who chairs the Early Interventions Review Team and work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith has also influenced thinking about the importance of focusing resources on deprived and vulnerable environments. They stress that early interventions are necessary to prevent problems becoming entrenched later in life.
A report of the Early Intervention Review Team last January recommended the development of an Early Intervention Foundation 'charged with establishing demonstrable improvements in the social and emotional bedrock of children'. This would be created through private, philanthropic, ethical and local funding and run independently of central government.2,3