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An analysis of English national policy approaches to health inequalities: ‘transforming children and young people’s mental health provision’ and its consultation process

Griffin, Naomi; Wistow, Jonathan; Fairbrother, Hannah; Holding, Eleanor; Sirisena, Mihirini; Powell, Katie; Summerbell, Carolyn

An analysis of English national policy approaches to health inequalities: ‘transforming children and young people’s mental health provision’ and its consultation process Thumbnail


Authors

Naomi Griffin

Hannah Fairbrother

Eleanor Holding

Mihirini Sirisena

Katie Powell



Abstract

Background A national policy for England, published in 2017, entitled ‘Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision’ aimed to address the increasing prevalence mental health problems in children and tackle inequalities. In the context of this policy’s implementation as ongoing and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the need for appropriate, timely and ongoing national government commitment is vital. Methods A narrative review using a problem representation evaluation [1], we critiqued the policy and related consultation documents using a social determinants of health perspective. We also reviewed wider policy discourses through engaging with stakeholder responses, providing an innovative methodological contribution to scholarship on public health policy and health inequalities. Results We found absences and oversights in relation to inequalities (most notably the lack of acknowledgement that mental health can cause inequalities), access, workforce capacity, and the impacts of cuts and austerity on service provision. We suggest these inadequacies may have been avoided if stakeholder responses to the consultation process had been more meaningfully addressed. We illustrate how ‘problems’ are discursively created through the process of policy development, justified using specific types of evidence, and that this process is politically motivated. Local policy makers have a critical role in translating and adapting national policy for their communities but are constrained by absences and oversights in relation to health inequalities. Conclusions This narrative review illustrates how policy discourse frames and produces ‘problems’, and how the evidence used is selected and justified politically. This review contributes to the existing transdisciplinary field of knowledge about how using methods from political and social science disciplines can reveal new insights when critiquing and influencing policy approaches to health inequalities.

Citation

Griffin, N., Wistow, J., Fairbrother, H., Holding, E., Sirisena, M., Powell, K., & Summerbell, C. (2022). An analysis of English national policy approaches to health inequalities: ‘transforming children and young people’s mental health provision’ and its consultation process. BMC Public Health, 22(1), Article 1084. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-022-13473-6

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 13, 2022
Online Publication Date May 31, 2022
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Jul 19, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jul 19, 2022
Journal BMC Public Health
Publisher BioMed Central
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 22
Issue 1
Article Number 1084
DOI https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-022-13473-6

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Copyright Statement
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.





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