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State of child health: how is the UK doing?
  1. Ronny Cheung1,
  2. Rakhee Shah2,
  3. Rachael McKeown3,
  4. Russell M Viner4,5
  1. 1 General Paediatrics, Evelina London Children's Hospital, London, UK
  2. 2 Community Paediatrics, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, London, UK
  3. 3 Health Policy, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, London, London, UK
  4. 4 Population, Policy and Practice Research Programme, UCL Institute of Child Health, London, UK
  5. 5 Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ronny Cheung, General Paediatrics, Evelina London Children's Hospital, London SE1 7EH, UK; ronny.cheung{at}

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In 2017, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health published the original State of Child Health Report, an analysis of 25 key indicators of child health across the four UK nations.1 The report described laudable progress in UK child health over the past two decades. However, across many indicators the rate of progress did not match that of other comparable countries, and the spectre of health inequality loomed large.

The intervening years have only served to provide further evidence for the UK’s struggles in international comparisons of child health2 3 and the impact of health inequality.4 5

The recently published State of Child Health 2020 6 report updates and augments its 2017 predecessor. Indicators have been revised to include recent data in order to track progress. New topics have been added to reflect evolving child health priorities and challenges, including mental health, injuries from violence, child poverty, the health of looked after children and an overview of the child health workforce.

Here we summarise the main report findings and set out key policy recommendations to the four UK governments.

Where has progress been made?

Long-term conditions

Outcomes for children and young people with the three most common long-term conditions in childhood have improved—beneficiaries of national improvement initiatives built around a networked approach and an investment in data. Across all four UK nations, those with type 1 diabetes continue to report ever-improving blood glucose control, and more are receiving their recommended regular health checks. Rate of emergency admission to hospital, often used as a proxy measure …

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  • Twitter @cheungronny, @shahrakhee

  • Contributors RC conceived the article and wrote the first draft. RS, RM and RV reviewed and edited the final manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.