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Child health strategy is delayed for second time

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The national child health strategy, expected to reveal key roles for health visitors and school nurses, has been delayed for a second time, the government has admitted.

NT understands the national child health strategy, which was originally due to be published in the spring, missed its second launch deadline at the start of this month because of issues around funding its implementation.

A Department of Health spokesperson confirmed that the strategy had once again been delayed.

‘It was due out on Monday 6 October but it has been delayed,’ a statement said. ‘We do not have a fixed date for it yet but it will be this year. We cannot comment on the reason.’

Obi Amadi, Unite/CPHVA lead professional officer, said: ‘We are disappointed there has been another delay in the publication of such an important document which will affect the lives of so many children and families. We would hope to speak to the government to clarify the situation.’

Sally Russell, co-founder of online network Netmums, also said she was concerned by the delay.

‘The strategy is an important step forward and we were looking forward to seeing it because we were hoping it would see investment in the health visiting service, which we think is very much needed,’ she said.

The idea for the strategy came out of the Children’s Plan, which was published last December by the Department for Children, School and Families (DCSF) to improve the lives of children in England.

It was intended that the joint strategy – between the Department of Health and DCSF – would ‘consider how health services can work better to improve children’s health, working with schools and other partners’. The earlier plan states the strategy would be published in spring this year.

Hilary Samson-Barry, programme director for partnerships, children, families and maternity at the DH, was reported as saying in May that the strategy missed its first deadline for a number of reasons, including the NHS 60th anniversary celebrations.

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