Together with over 60 members of the First 1001 Days Movement, we have written to the new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, asking him to address the impacts of the pandemic on babies and their families, and to take longer-term action to ensure all our children have the best start in life.
The pandemic has been difficult for many families, with impacts on a range of factors that significantly contribute to child development. The letter points out that more than £3bn has been spent on mitigating the impact of the pandemic on older children, but nothing on those under two. We ask the Secretary of State to end the BabyBlindspot in Government’s COVID-19 response and recovery plans.
The letter demands urgent action to ensure that babies’ health, wellbeing and safety is prioritised and that Government acts on its own commitment to “ensuring that children have the best start in life”. It describes three things that the Secretary of State should prioritise to make a significant difference:
- Securing funding in the upcoming Spending Review to deliver the Government’s Best Start for Life vision.
- Setting out clear expectations in the Health and Care Bill that local partners will cooperate in order to improve outcomes and reducing inequalities for children in the first 1001 days.
- Ensure that the new Office of Health Promotion can intervene when a local area is not delivering the Healthy Child Programme or is experiencing poor, declining, or unequal outcomes in the first 1001 days, providing additional support and resources where needed.
Read the letter here