The Chief Medical Officer’s annual report ‘Our Children Deserve Better: Prevention Pays’ focuses on the health and wellbeing of children and young people.
The report describes PSHE education as “a subject that forms a bridge between health and education by building resilience and wellbeing.”
The report emphasises the importance of prevention:“There is also an increasing evidence base showing that in children prevention pays, with an expected
return on 6—10% from investing in interventions early
in life. The case for early intervention and prevention is
increasingly clear both biologically and economically.
Yet the UK’s National Audit Office estimates that only
6% of current government spending is on early action
and within health, and only 4% is spent directly on
preventive measures. There is also evidence that
children are disproportionately disadvantaged. In
the UK, 26·9% of children and young people (aged
0—19 years) are living in, or at risk of, poverty or
social exclusion, compared with an overall population
rate of 22·6%; these figures compare poorly with the
Netherlands, the best performing country in Europe,
which has a corresponding rate of 15·7%.
The recommendations of the Chief Medical Officer in the Annual Report should catalyse action across government. We must develop the evidence base on child health, particularly for early intervention,
including the Healthy Child Programme, and
promote resilience in its widest sense. Further
recommendations seek to translate the evidence
presented in the Annual Report into practical actions,
which include commissioning age-appropriate training for health professionals, translating the
evidence on children and young people’s views of
health care into a “Health Deal” and developing tool
kits for schools to improve educational attainment through Personal Social Health and Economic (PSHE) education. We badly need independent monitoring of progress against outcome indicators”.