The Scottish Executive placed children and young people at the very centre of policy development with the establishment of the top level Children and Young People Delivery Group. This focus necessarily includes the specific requirement to foster and safeguard their health and well-being which is key not only to their life-experiences but to our future prospects as a nation. As set out in this Action Framework the health of our children and young people continues to face significant challenges in 21st Century Scotland. Many of these, including the concerning rise in childhood obesity, are complex and addressing them will require a concerted effort across the many agencies which impact on child health.
There are however very specific challenges facing the NHS in Scotland as it seeks to play its key part in that process. By way of response the Action Framework presents our approach to delivering improvements in healthcare for children and young people in Scotland for the next ten years. To that end it seeks to address the spectrum of health services for children and young people from highly specialised hospital-based care to the wide range of community services which are the principal source of healthcare for many children, young people and their families.
The new children's hospital facilities now opened in Aberdeen and Dundee and planned for Edinburgh and Glasgow will provide the basis for regional and national networks linked to our District General Hospitals and community services. These arrangements will put Scotland at the forefront in delivering hospital care to children and young people and will ensure that patients, and their families, receive the safe and high quality care they need as close to home as possible.
In practice the vast majority of contacts with children and young people take place in the community with our schools, social work services and the NHS together providing the ideal opportunity to identify health issues and to offer the appropriate, timely interventions.
Such an integrated approach, which is central to the proposals in Getting it Right for Every Child, is dependent on effective multi-agency working in order to deliver real improvements. We have purposely outlined the steps that will have to be implemented if we want to make sure that staff and services are equipped and ready to meet the very real challenges inherent in a coordinated inter-agency approach. We can however build on experience and activity that has already taken place in relation to child protection and other initiatives seeking to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in our communities.
We have also emphasised the importance of the need to provide new opportunities and develop new roles for staff. This approach is closely linked to the redesign of services, the development of service networks and the need for multi-disciplinary and cross-sectoral working if we are to deliver measurable improvements in children and young people's health and healthcare services.
To ensure the improvements are delivered we are introducing challenging performance management arrangements including the development of targets for child health and the rollout of integrated inspections of children's services from 2008.
This document is not the end of the process, however it is a significant step forward in ensuring that children and young people in Scotland get access to the support and care they need.
Lewis Macdonald, MSP
Deputy Minister for Health and Community Care
Children and Young People's Health Support Group - Foreword
Children and young people are the very foundation of the society we live in and have featured prominently in the work of the Scottish Executive and Scottish Parliament since its inception. Against that background the Minister for Health and Community Care asked the Children and Young People's Health Support Group ( CYPHSG) to develop this Action Framework with the intention that it capture, in one document, the key actions required to meet the challenges for children and young people's health in 21st Century Scotland.
The publication of two major documents - Building a Health Service Fit for the Future and the Scottish Executive's response Delivering for Health - both of which reflect significant input from the CYPHSG and others working in child health, and the recommendations emerging from these streams of work have played a significant part in shaping this Action Framework.
We have been very aware of the breadth of the child health agenda and the extent to which the health of the next generation is crucially dependent on the activities of a wide range of Government Departments, Local Authority agencies and other services working in areas such as Education, Social Care, Health Improvement and Justice. Integrated children's services planning and the proposals in Getting it Right for Every Child will also help in ensuring that the needs of the child are at the centre of local service planning and delivery. The appointment of the Scottish Commissioner for Children and Young People provides an opportunity for the views of children to be listened to more closely in the future.
The CYPHSG fully recognises this wider dimension and the need, beyond the publication of this Action Framework, to ensure the effective collaboration of all parties engaged in pursuing the health and well-being of our children and young people.
It is also important that this Action Framework incorporates those actions that will most realistically and effectively progress children and young people's health and health services over the next few years.
Children and Young People's Health Support Group