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Members and guests chat about a wide range of child health topics - from health inequalities to climate change, from paediatric training to quality improvement. With the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Jul 19, 2023

In a first for our podcasts, we delve into the world of government and parliament. RCPCH President Camilla Kingdon speaks with Dame Andrea Leadsom MP, Conservative Member of Parliament for South Northamptonshire about her experiences of advocating for infant and child health.

Dame Andrea wants every baby to have the best start in life - a message shared by the College. She chaired the Government's Early Years Healthy Development Review and its March 2021 report, The best start for life, a vision for the 1001 critical days, outlines areas for action to improve the health outcomes of all babies in England, including new Family Hubs.

She now chairs the Start for Life Unit, a team of civil servants tasked with implementing the review's recommendations.

Dame Andrea talks with Camilla about her experiences of championing infant and child health in Parliament, and why she's so passionate and focused on this early period of life. Camilla asks how paediatricians can use their voice to support policy change, particularly where there are competing priorities, and how to consider poverty's impact on child health outcomes.

Ensuring decision-makers introduce the best public policy for children and young people is an important part of our work at RCPCH. We engage regularly with Ministers, senior civil servants, MPs, Lords and advisers on a wide range of matters. On some occasions, like this one, that will mean engaging with individuals from specific political parties. However, we never endorse political parties or movements, and work with representatives of all parties equally and that remains the case with this podcast.

We are grateful to Dame Andrea for sharing her views as someone with a central role in government policymaking on early years. Do keep an eye out on our podcasts for future conversations with policymakers from across the political spectrum.

Links from the podcast

Family Hubs and Start for Life programme (GOV.UK)

The best start for life: a vision for the 1,001 critical days (GOV.UK)

Rt Hon. Dame Andrea Leadsom website

RCPCH work in public affairs

RCPCH toolkit on child health inequalities

RCPCH position statement on breastfeeding