NHS failing children with ‘disgraceful’ wait times, says top doctor

Children are facing “disgraceful” waiting times for NHS treatment as they are not considered a priority, one of the UK’s leading children’s doctors has said.

Dr Camilla Kingdon, the outgoing president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health  (RCPCH), said progress on cutting waiting times for adults was not being made for young people.

She also called on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to appoint a dedicated children’s health minister, to ensure that young people were given fair consideration in policy decisions.

The number of children needing hospital care has risen from 387,000 last August to 412,000 in January, according to the latest NHS figures.

She said: “We fear children are being left behind again in health policy and the wider political agenda.

“While there has been considerable progress in reducing wait times for adult treatment in recent months, children’s waiting lists continue to grow.

“If a child is waiting 52 weeks for treatment and they’re three years old, 52 weeks is a third of their life. I think it’s a disgrace.

“Children have to be prioritised in a way they haven’t been.”

Dr Kingdon, who works at Guy’s and St Thomas’s NHS Foundation Trust in London, will step down as president of the RCPCH next week after three years.

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