The Health and Care Bill 2021-22 was introduced in the House of Commons on 6 July with the Second Reading scheduled to take place today, 14 July 2021.

The iHV, together with leading organisations as part of the Children and Young People’s Health Policy Influencing Group (HPIG), has issued to MPs and published today a collective briefing calling on the Government to take account of the specific needs of children in the proposed Health and Social Care reforms.

We hope that by coming together with so many leading organisations working with babies, children and their families, with one voice, we can draw attention to the gaps in the current proposed legislation as well as the considerable opportunities to ‘build back better’ for all children.

Alison Morton, Executive Director iHV, said:

“The Health and Care Bill provides an important opportunity to improve the quality of support that children receive through improved integration which needs to be maximised. At the moment, the system of support for families is fragmented at all levels, from national government to local delivery, and faces other challenges due to underfunding and workforce issues. We look forward to working with others to help shape the guidance that will ensure that children are at the heart of our health and care system – this will not happen by chance”.

HPIG welcomes the Government’s drive towards integrated services and greater collaboration within and beyond the health and care system, including the proposals to place Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) on a statutory footing. We believe integration and joint working are critical to improving health outcomes for infants, children and young people.

However, HPIG has significant concerns that the Integration and Innovation White Paper and the Bill have only considered the benefits of integration from the perspective of the adult health and social care systems. We cannot expect a system which has been designed with the needs of adults in mind to work effectively for children. The Health and Care Bill provides an opportunity to improve children’s health outcomes but, for this to happen, there must be concrete action to address its gaps.

HPIG briefing points and key questions

Key points from the briefing and associated questions for the Second Reading to ensure that children are at the heart of our health and care system:

  • A clear strategy for every child in every ICS
    • Question for Second Reading: How will Government ensure that every ICS prioritises infants, children and young people’s health?
  • Join-up at national policy level
    • Question for Second Reading: What plans does the Government have to ensure ICSs support the wider children’s policy agenda?
  • Supporting integrated services for children
    • Question for Second Reading: How will Government ensure that the children’s system benefits from legislation which facilitates integration across the adult health and social care system?
  • Providing sufficient support for successful implementation
    • Question for Second Reading: What are the Government’s plans to ensure the children’s system has the necessary workforce and funding to deliver high-quality integrated care?