RACP welcomes Liberal National Coalition funding for child health

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) has welcomed the launch of the Coalition government’s ‘Child Health Action Plan’ as an important first step to prioritising child health, and looks forward to further details about the Action Plan and how it will be implemented, including an appropriate funding commitment.

Professor Paul Colditz, President of the Paediatrics and Child Health Division within the RACP said: “This is a welcome step towards the kind of focus we need on child and preventive health.

“The development of this plan was first announced at the RACP’s child health forum in Canberra last August and it is heartening to see it progress to some practical support for child health programs. We look forward now to see appropriate funding announcements to ensure the plan is implemented and to working with whomever forms government to progress this and other initiatives in the critical area of child and preventive health.

“The RACP also welcomes the commitment of $1 million to support the Consumer Health Forum’s Youth Health Forum, to ensure the voices of young health consumers are heard.

“Importantly we need to see a significant, comprehensive and sustained investment in child health, addressing inequitable health outcomes and access to healthcare.

“A focus on the early years is critical, given the strong evidence that investing in the early years of children’s health, development and wellbeing is the most cost-effective means of tackling long-term health conditions and health inequity,” Prof Colditz said.

The RACP has this week launched its position statement “Early childhood – the importance of the early years” which makes 47 recommendations, including:

  • a universal sustained postnatal home visiting program, providing support to all parents for the first 10 days after birth
  • extending the Australian Government’s paid parental leave scheme to provide up to 6 months (26 weeks) of paid parental leave (taken by either parent), to support parents and babies in the early months and assist working mothers to continue breastfeeding.
  • introduction of mandatory regulations to restrict the marketing of unhealthy diets to children and young people
  • implement an effective tax on sugar sweetened beverages to reduce consumption and use the revenue to invest in culturally relevant initiatives to improve health equity
  • create Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items for paediatric specialists to communicate expert advice to GPs, other specialists and other health
    professionals through mechanisms other than face to face patient consultations
  • fund the development, implementation, evaluation and scaling up of integrated early childhood programs designed to improve access to child and allied health
  • provide adequate, child focused income support where there are dependent children of parents who are unemployed or living with a disability which prevents them from work.

Read the RACP full election statement.  

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