Baker, Deborah and McCluskey, Serena (2007) Setting standards for preventative services to reduce child health inequalities in Greater Manchester. Research Report. University of Salford, Salford, UK.

Recent policy documents such as Every Child Matters and the National Service Framework for
Children, Young People and Maternity Services have indicated a fundamental shift in ways of
thinking about child health, emphasising the crucial role of preventative action as well as
treatment for ensuring that children have the best possible chance to reach their full potential.
This is paramount in deprived areas, where child poverty translates itself into social
disadvantage that affects the life chances of children from birth onwards. Whilst the NHS
cannot tackle the fundamental drivers of child poverty, it can make a substantial contribution to
improving the health and life chances of children living in deprived areas through making sure
that parents have access to the services they need and have the information and support to
make the best choices about the health and development of their children.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) in its strategy on equity in health states that disparities
in health status between different groups in the population should be reduced by improving the
health of the disadvantaged. Hence, the National Service Framework for Children, Young
People and Maternity Services set down 11 standards that define, in general terms, the aims
and objectives of services for all children (standards 1-5), services for particular groups of
children and young people (standards 6-10) and maternity services (standard 11). These
standards underpin a more generic health inequalities target that sets the goal of a reduction of
at least 10% in the gap in infant mortality between manual groups and the population as a
whole in 2010.

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