“Because so much of the acute illness of childhood occurs in the very young, there has been a tendency to give the health needs of school children a lesser priority. Yet none doubt that the best investment in the country’s future is in its children. Although the key targets of Health of the Nation mainly concern adults, most adult problems have their origins in childhood and many can be prevented by ensuring the optimal health of children. Just as the skills of the nation depend on the education of children, so the health of the nation follows from the physical and mental health of its children.
The report emphasises the services that are necessary for children at school, in the setting of the adjacent general medical care (primary care) and hospital care (secondary care). The composition of the working party chaired by Dr Leon Polnay, an experienced community paediatrician, reflects some of the diversity in the delivery of healthcare to children – paediatric specialists, general practitioners, public health doctors and community health nurses. These health professionals stress the importance of working closely with other agencies, and in partnership with children, teachers and parents. At a time when there is emphasis on empowering parents to act on behalf of children there is also a recognition that many parents need positive guidance and directive advice.”
President, British Paediatric Association