Action for Sick Children changes its name

Sick child

Gwen Garner, Trustee at Children’s Health Scotland, believes the new name best expresses the organisation's remit 

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20th July 2017 by TFN Guest 0 Comments

After more than 50 years of campaigning for the healthcare rights of children and young people, and their families, Action for Sick Children Scotland is changing its name to Children’s Health Scotland in order to reflect better its current focus and range of activities. 

The charity has its roots in the 1950s. This was when Scot, James Robertson, made the landmark film ‘A Two Year Old goes to Hospital’ (1952). It showed how Laura, who had gone into hospital for an operation, reacted to being separated from her parents.

As was the common practice of the day, they were not allowed to stay with her. The film demonstrates the impact of maternal deprivation on children when they are separated from their primary carers.

Laura repeatedly says; ‘I want my Mummy, I want my Mummy!’ Robertson, who worked at the Tavistock Clinic with John Bowlby, also made ‘Going to Hospital with Mother’ (1958).

Robertson’s films proved to have a profound effect on how we treat children in healthcare settings. They informed the work of the government committee, chaired by Sir Harry Platt, which produced The Welfare of Children in Hospital Report. It was adopted as policy in 1959.

However, it took the screening of Robertson’s films on national television in 1961, and the subsequent establishment of the charity Mother Care for Children in Hospital (MCCH), which pressed for the recommendations of the Report to be implemented, for changes in practice to be adopted. 

MCCH spread UK wide and in 1965 became the National Association for the Welfare of Children in Hospital (NAWCH). By adopting the campaign name Action for Sick Children in 1991, it emphasised that the work is not just limited to hospital settings.

From these foundations, Action for Sick Children Scotland has campaigned for children and young people to receive the highest standard and quality of care when they are ill in hospital, at home or in the community, and also for their greater involvement along with their families, in decisions about health services.

The charity looks forward to continuing its work to support every child and young person

Robertson would be amazed if he were alive today to see the progress that has been made. Although how children are cared for now is light years from the situation in Robertson’s day, there are always improvements that can be made. 

With the launch of the new name Children’s Health Scotland, the charity looks forward to continuing its work to support every child and young person to have their healthcare rights upheld and their healthcare needs met.