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Looking after children in primary care: a companion to the Children’s National Service Framework
  1. G Sinha

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Edited by Ruth Chambers, Kirsty Licence. Oxford: Radcliffe, 2005, £24.95, pp 224. ISBN 1 85775 888 9

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The recently published leading article on the National Service Framework (NSF) in Archives of Disease in Childhood by our ex-president of this college1 and the issues such as child poverty, the phenomenal increase in the number of sexually transmitted diseases, teenage pregnancies, and campaigns such as Jamie Oliver’s school dinners have highlighted child health issues. The government acknowledged that our youngsters are not just simply “little adults” by producing the Children’s National Service Framework in 2004. Further government initiatives to improve the lives of the children and their families—for example, Every Child Matters and the Children Act 2004—have been announced. The question arises as to how many professionals understand what the NSF actually entails. The editors have been involved in the evolution of the NSF. They claim this book is a companion and will be beneficial to those working in primary care (health, education, and social services). Is the claim justified?

There are 18 chapters in the book in comparison to 11 standards set in the NSF for young people and maternity services. Of 11 NSF standards, five are meant for primary health care. Each chapter has its own merits: a good introductory overview of the Children’s NSF; emphasising the need for involving children and young people in the organisation of health care with good examples and principles; setting out an audit checklist for GPs for creating a child and young person friendly environment; providing a box of core curricula for training people who work with parents; and displaying universally available preliminary support to be available to all parents. But the highlight of the book was chapter 18 (listening to young people’s perspectives in relation to adolescent health). It covers smoking, obesity, drinking alcohol, illicit drug use, and sexual health. I liked the poem “Don’t go losing your virginity”. Overall this book is easy to read and doesn’t falter in its purpose. It is well written by highly experienced authors. The tables and boxes highlight the key features in each chapter. The references are broad and up to date. The immunisation schedule keeps on changing, therefore the readers should update themselves. It is a pity that there is no chapter on resource implications. This book should be beneficial not only to primary healthcare professionals but also to those in secondary and tertiary care. I would recommend that women’s and children’s departments, managers involved with care of children, parents, and carers, and each library should have a copy.

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