One of the main reasons the charity is needed is due to the health inequalities that exist in Greater Manchester, one of the most deprived cities in England.
There were 184,336 children in Greater Manchester living below the breadline in March 2020, even before the cost of housing was taken into account.
The figures mean that even before coronavirus hit, more than one in every four children in Greater Manchester was living in poverty (26%) - higher than the national average of one in five (20%).
The figure ranges from 13% in Trafford to 38% in Oldham, which is one of the highest proportions in the country.
In one neighbourhood in Oldham, shockingly nearly four in every five children are thought to be living in poverty.
In fact, there are 108 neighbourhoods across Greater Manchester where more than half of children are estimated to be living below the breadline*
Recent decades have seen overall improvements in babies born with a low birthweight, infant deaths, child development and dental health. However, in the years leading up to the coronavirus pandemic improvements in these indicators had slowed. In addition, there has been little change in the prevalence of obesity in children aged 4 to 5 (9.9% in 2019 to 2020) and an increase in children aged 10 to 11 years (from 18.7% in 2009 to 2010 to 21.0% in 2019 to 2020).
Wide inequalities are apparent across all indicators of child health presented. In 2019, in the most deprived areas, the proportion of term babies with a low birthweight, the infant mortality rate and the prevalence of obesity in children aged 4 to 5 and 10 to 11 years was more than double the least deprived. In 2018 to 2019, 23.4% of children aged 5 years had dental decay, and the prevalence was almost 4 times higher in most deprived areas than in the least deprived areas. For those indicators with data available by ethnicity (low birthweight, infant deaths, dental decay, obesity) inequalities by ethnic group are present.
The Marmot review in 2010 looked in to health inequalities in England and a follow up report 10 years later by the Institute of Health Equity has found that :
One of the key objectives from the 2010 report is to give every child the best start in life. The review states that :
Around 1 in 10 hospital outpatients appointments are missed** which means that as the NHS struggles with budget cuts, soaring demand and staff shortages almost £1 billion is being wasted annually***
The average missed Outpatients appointment costs the NHS £160, below are the costs for missed paediatric appointments :
Recent research has shown that missed appointments cost the Royal Oldham hospital at least £2.7million a year, based on figures which show that 13% of patients failed to attend their appointment at the hospital. Figures show that 22,158 patients missed their appointment from a total of 120,133 available clinic slots.
These figures highlight a waste of resources and clinic appointments, which could be used to reduce waiting times for other patients. That’s why the hospital is urging patients to cancel or rearrange their appointment if they are unable to attend.
Many families struggle to attend vital medical appointments with their children which is where Transport for Sick Children can help. Our mission is to reduce stress and barriers to a family by enabling children to attend medical appointments despite any transport, financial or social issues they have.
***The Guardian online