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Portsmouth MP backs Child Health Action Plan as Labour pledges the healthiest generation of children ever

By 18 January 2024No Comments

Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan has said Labour’s new Child Health Action Plan will create the healthiest and happiest generation of children ever in Portsmouth and end the scandal of plummeting child health outcomes over the last 14 years.

Labour’s Child Health Action Plan comes as bleak OECD data shows that British children are increasingly falling not only victim to poor health outcomes, but falling behind their international counterparts.

The party reveals that British children today are smaller than Haitian children, fatter than French children, and less happy than Turkish kids.

Mr Morgan has made ensuring every child in Portsmouth succeeds and thrives one of his key priorities. The City MP has ongoing campaigns for improved teacher recruitment and retention and for better children mental health support.

The height of the average British five-year old girl has fallen by 27 places in international rankings over the last three decades, with the average British five-year-old boy has fallen by 33 places on the height league table.

Data around child obesity is similarly stark with the UK estimated to have more obese children than France, Germany, Poland and Slovenia. When it comes to mental health, the picture for British children is heartbreaking with 200,000 children on an English mental health waiting list.

Labour’s Child Health Action Plan is based around three simple goals for Britain’s future, each of which is supported by bold action as first steps on the road to delivery.

A future where children are healthy:

  • Implementing the 9pm watershed for junk food advertising on television and ban paid-for advertising of less healthy foods on online media aimed at children
  • A free breakfast club in every primary school so every child is able to start the day with a healthy breakfast and parents are able to get to work
  • Banning vapes from being advertised to appeal to children, and make sure that the incremental smoking ban passes through Parliament
  • Introducing a targeted national supervised toothbrushing programme for three-to-five year-olds in our fully funded breakfast clubs.

A future where children are happy:

  • Cutting waiting lists for mental health services by recruiting thousands more staff
  • Introducing specialist mental health support for children and young people in every school
  • Delivering an open access children and young people’s mental health hub for every community.

A future where children can get the NHS care they need:

  • Cutting paediatric waiting times by delivering two million more operations, scans and appointments
  • Giving the NHS the tools and tech it needs to see children more quickly by doubling the number of MRI and CT scanners
  • Delivering 700,000 extra urgent dental appointments per year and recruit dentists to areas most in need, so more children can see a dentist when they really need one
  • Creating a cross-departmental mission delivery board that prioritises child health and includes a focus on inequalities, well-being, physical and mental health.

Commenting on the launch of Labour’s Child Health Action Plan, Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan said:

“It’s nothing short of a scandal that children’s health has been plummeting since the Conservatives came to power in 2010.

“Child obesity is on the rise, NHS and mental health support waiting lists are at record highs and we are seeing children’s growth stunted literally and metaphorically under this government.

“This will change under Labour with Portsmouth children’s health and happiness no longer taken for granted as we will tackle obesity, provide healthy breakfast at school and ensure all children can get the NHS care they need.”

Announcing the launch of Labour’s Child Health Action Plan, Keir Starmer, said:

“Tooth decay, stunted growth and stalling life expectancy should be consigned to the history books, but instead they’re the reality of Tory Britain. The biggest casualty of the short term ‘sticking plaster’ politics of the last 14 years are our nation’s children. My Labour government will turn this around.

“Healthy, happy children is not a nice to have, it’s a basic right, with economic urgency. We want the next generation to be chasing their dreams, not a dentist appointment. They should be aspiring to reach their potential, not reach a doctor.

“Labour will end the scandal of children being held back by poor health and regional inequalities, by slashing waits for mental health treatment and hospital appointment, putting prevention first, and fixing NHS dentistry.

“That’s the future our children and young people deserve, and that’s the future a Labour Government will deliver.”

This week Mr Morgan MP has welcomed Labour’s plans to tackle the “generational challenge” of persistent absence of children from school, as Government figures show 84,000 of 2.7m school sessions in the latest spring term [2023] were missed without permission by pupils in Portsmouth.