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16.05.13

UK ‘failing’ vulnerable children – BMA

Austerity policies of cutting welfare benefits and social care could “set the country back even further”, a report by the British Medical Association (BMA) has warned.

The report highlights recent international data that ranked the UK 16 out of 29 nations in terms of child wellbeing and last month saw the highest number of recorded children in the UK were referred to local authority care, mainly for abuse and neglect.

The BMA stated that it is “shortsighted” to cut funding from health intervention projects addressing causes of social breakdown.

The report recommends parenting classes, improved maternal nutrition, ministerial accountability for children’s health and wellbeing and families identified where their lifestyles could affect the health of unborn children.

Multi-disciplinary working should be made easier and children in need should be targeted, it adds.

The report points out that the Department of Health's own work in 2012 concluded that “more children and young people are dying in the UK than in other countries in northern and western Europe”.

Professor Averil Mansfield, chair of the BMA's board of science, said: “The BMA is particularly concerned that any improvements in tackling child poverty are in danger of being eroded by some government welfare policies. Children should not pay the price for the economic downturn.”

Vivienne Nathanson, director of professional activities at the BMA, said: “we are failing our most vulnerable children”.

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