Trudy Mills, Director of Children and Family Health Surrey and Women and Children’s Strategy Lead for Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership, discusses the importance of the first 1,000 days of a child’s life in beating health inequalities in a blog published this month by NHS England. Trudy joined Chief Executive of Surrey County Council, Joanna Killian, at the first Integrated Care for Children conference earlier this month where they led a workshop discussing ‘the first 1000 days’.
One of Surrey Heartlands’ main ambitions is for the next generation to lead healthier and more prosperous lives. The first few years of a child’s life will affect their health outcomes for the rest of their life.
Trudy writes: “If a child enters school with a health inequality, this gap is likely to never close, so we’ve agreed to focus on the first 1,000 days of each child’s life, working together to do everything we can to maximise their life chances.”
Among the initiatives being developed in Surrey, together with Public Health England, is a family resilience model – often known as a ‘think family’ approach – that looks at families as a whole and helps us pick up as many opportunities as possible to support family life.
“We’ve asked all our partners to recognise their impact on children’s lives by picking two or three key actions they can contribute to making a difference. For example, all partners can ‘make every contact count (MECC)’ by supporting healthy changes such as stopping smoking, making appropriate referrals to other services and encouraging smoke-free homes,” says Trudy.
Surrey County Council is playing a key role in these developments and its chief executive is chair of the child strategy group – a sub-group of the transformational board. The group has tasked early help and children’s services with working up a joint offer for families and a health and wellbeing strategy that links health, social and mental health care.
You can find Trudy’s blog in full at https://www.england.nhs.uk/blog/1000-days-to-make-a-difference.