A New Look at Hall 4 – the Early Years – Good Health for Every Child

Guidance setting out the way forward for the successful delivery of Health for All Children (Hall 4) in the early years.

Policy Context

The purpose of the Scottish Government is to focus on creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth.

Progress towards the Purpose is tracked by 7 Purpose Targets and is supported by
15 National Outcomes - describing the kind of Scotland we want to be. At least 4 of the National Outcomes are directly relevant to delivery of the Hall 4 programme:

  • Our children have the best start in life and are ready to succeed
  • We have improved the life chances for children, young people and families at risk
  • We have tackled the significant inequalities in Scottish society
  • Our young people are successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens.

The early years policy landscape in Scotland has changed dramatically in the years following the publication of the 2005 guidance. The three social policy frameworks set out below seek to find a common approach to addressing inequalities across Scotland:

In addition, the Getting it Right for Every Child ( GIRFEC) transformational change programme demonstrates the Scottish Government's commitment to improving outcomes for children and young people - driving change across practice, systems and culture in all relevant agencies to ensure help for all Scotland's children. The GIRFEC approach applies to all children, promotes early intervention and is about how practitioners across all services for children and adults meet the needs of children and young people, working together where necessary to ensure that they reach their full potential. GIRFEC takes a child centred approach that should ensure that services are provided to that child in an appropriate, proportionate and timely way that aligns activity around a single planning process.

The NHS Healthcare Quality Strategy has been built around what people in Scotland have said they want from healthcare services in line with the wider social policy frameworks and GIRFEC principles. They said they wanted:

  • Caring and compassionate staff and services
  • Clear, effective communication and explanation about conditions and treatment
  • Effective collaboration between clinicians, patients and others
  • A clean and safe environment
  • Continuity of care
  • Clinical excellence.

The Quality Strategy sets out the internationally recognised 6 dimensions of healthcare quality - healthcare that is: person-centred, safe, effective, efficient, equitable and timely. The 3 Quality Ambitions set out in the strategy to which all NHSScotland staff and its partners will be aligned are:

  • Person-centredness - Mutually beneficial partnerships between patients, their families and those delivering healthcare services which respect individual needs and values and which demonstrate compassion, continuity, clear communication and shared decision-making.
  • Safe - There will be no avoidable injury or harm to people from the healthcare they receive, and an appropriate clean and safe environment will be provided for the delivery of healthcare services at all times.
  • Effective - The most appropriate treatments, interventions, support and services will be provided at the right time to everyone who will benefit, and wasteful or harmful variation will be eradicated.

All 3 of these Ambitions are relevant to the delivery of care to children and their families in the early years. They describe the care which they should receive as being safe, relevant and delivered in partnership with children and their families.

The successful delivery of children's services should also be underpinned by the core principles of child protection. Procedures and guidance cannot in themselves protect children: a competent, skilled and confident workforce is essential. Child protection is a complex system requiring the interaction of services, the public, children and families. The National Guidance for Child Protection provides the framework for that understanding. It enables managers and practitioners to apply their skills collectively and effectively and to develop a shared understanding of their common objective - to support and protect children, particularly those who are most vulnerable.

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