Sunday, 5 May 2013

Children, Bubbles, and Grandchildren, Beware

I had a monetary lapse of reason last week when I stumbled upon the Commissioning a Good Child Health Service published on Tuesday. My immediate thought was what a stroke of genius. Good children will eat their five a day fruit and veg, take plenty of exercise, be mentally stimulated and model pupils, never argue with their parents and always go to bed on time. I imagined at the GPs there would be a streaming out process based upon a good behaviour guide that I am sure if not already invented, a psychologist somewhere will be working on one. Good children take the door to the left, bad children, the door on the right.

In reality, Commissioning a Good Child Health Service comes out of work undertaken by the Royal Colleges of General Practitioners; Nurses; Paediatrics and Child Health, with a sprinkling of fairy dust provided by the Department of Health. This working party developed the guidance for commissioners of services to help local service providers address problems of in-appropriate Emergency Care services attendances, prenatal and adolescent mental health issues, children with long term and chronic illnesses, safeguarding and the needs of looked after children.

Around 25% of a GPs patients are under the age of 19, and this group represent more than 20% of the UK population, which according to the 2011 census, was around 63 million. The population is the 3rd largest in Europe (behind Germany and France) and the 22nd largest in the world. Apart from where I am currently writing my blog (Kippford in Scotland), the UK Population Density is also one of the highest in the world at 674 people per square mile.

Up here in Scotland, it’s not so crowded, (indeed last night in the Anchor Pub, the landlady was wondering out aloud as to what had happened to the usual Bank Holiday visitors). However, there are some remarkable statistics regarding children, particularly around birth-rates. 6% of babies born in Scotland during 2010 were to mothers under 20 years old, the largest group were mothers aged 20 – 35 years old, who gave birth to 71% of the babies born. In 2012, 51% of all babies born in Scotland were born to unmarried mothers. The the good children guidance recognises that across the UK there are significant numbers of children who are living in poverty, and experience poor access to health care.

Yesterday, I also had a chance to meet with my favourite artist Urpu Sellar. She makes the most wonderful sculptures that delightfully capture the idiosyncrasies of the English Language. We were both at an art show at my favourite gallery in Kirkcudbright, The White House. Rosie, the owner had provided folk with pink champagne and mouth wateringly good chocolates to help with the viewing (and purchasing). I didnt buy anything from Urpu’s collection this time as I am visiting her gallery and workshop as part of the forthcoming Spring Fling Arts Festival later on in May. However, I couldn’t resist buying a beautiful felt door stop made from the wool of Blue Faced Leicester Sheep and dyed Marino Sheep wool. The piece was created by Rachel Morley.

And grandchildren beware – you can only touch it if you are ‘good’.