Vaughan Gething, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport and Rebecca Evans Minister for Social Services and Public Health
Today the Welsh Government will launch the Healthy Child Wales Programme (HCWP) at a health visiting week event in Cardiff. From the 1 October, all Welsh health boards will begin implementation of the programme.
The HCWP is intended to be a universal health programme for all families with 0 – 7 year old children, to include a consistent range of evidence based preventative and early intervention measures (e.g. screening, developmental checks), and advice and guidance to support parenting and healthy lifestyle choices. At its core the HCWP sets out what planned contacts children and their families can expect from their health boards from maternity service handover to the first years of schooling (0-7 years). These universal contacts cover three areas of intervention: screening; immunisation; and monitoring and supporting child development.
We would like to take this opportunity to commend the work of all the health professionals who have contributed to the development of the Healthy Child Wales Programme. This service-led initiative has taken the opportunity to assess current health board offers in light of the latest evidence and developed an agreed all Wales approach to monitoring and supporting child development.
Addressing health inequalities is a focus for the Welsh Government. Child poverty is a significant challenge to delivering improved health outcomes. These children are the most likely to have unstable home situations and move between health boards. By developing and delivering services with a core set of all Wales universal contacts, health boards will minimise the possibility of these children and families missing out on the positive impact of an early intervention and public health programme.
No one service working in isolation will achieve the positive impact on children’s health and well-being that we all want. A key aspect of the success of the Healthy Child Wales Programme will be its partnership working with local authorities, communities, education and the third sector. We believe that with the Healthy Child Wales Programme, health boards in Wales will provide a solid platform to deliver the required improvements across the early years.
An overview of the introduction of the Healthy Child Wales Programme has been published on the Welsh Government website.