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UK children’s doctors given advice on how to help families in poverty

Children’s doctors plan to help poor families cope with the cost of living crisis and its feared impact on health, amid concern that cold homes this winter will lead to serious ill health.

In an unusual move, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) is issuing the UK’s paediatricians with detailed advice on how they can help households in poverty.

It has drawn up a series of resources, including advice for doctors treating children to use appointments to talk sensitively to their parents about issues that can have a big impact on their offspring’s health. These include diet, local pollution levels, socio-economic circumstances and difficulties at home or school, which are closely linked to children’s risk of being overweight, asthmatic or stressed.

“Don’t shy away from it,” the RCPCH’s 17-page manual says. “If we aren’t asking families about things which may impact on their children’s health, we are short-changing the children themselves.”

However, it adds that paediatricians should “pick your timing carefully [as] parents can feel alienated if we are perceived as jumping in with two feet to ask about smoking when they are stressed about an acutely unwell child with pneumonia.”

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Source: The Guardian, 22 September 2022


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