Children, young people, foster carers, kinship carers, families, volunteers, and health professionals joined together in Edinburgh today (Friday 9 September) to hear more about the health and wellbeing of children and young people, and their right to the best possible health, at the My Health, My Rights Children’s Health Scotland Conference.
As the leading Scottish children’s health charity, Children’s Health Scotland plays a big part in enabling children and young people, and those who love and care for them, to learn more about their rights in relation to their health and wellbeing. The charity says that it was proud to lead a national face-to-face conference, hosted by Scottish journalist and broadcaster, Catriona Shearer, which had a firm focus on issues which are of major importance and concern to children and young people in Scotland.
A key highlight of the event was the launch of a new book by Children’s Health Scotland, entitled ‘Millie meets the Dentist’. The star of this book is Millie who struggled to go to the dentist because she is autistic. Her mum got in touch with the charity who were able to offer Millie a dental play session with dressing-up, real equipment, toys, and books. This allowed Millie to learn about the dentist, and her rights, in a playful way. The whole experience made it possible for her to feel respected and involved in decisions about her treatment. The book also includes a section for adults and professionals who support children like Millie. It offers information, evidence, and lots of practical advice on how to help anxious children through a rights-based approach and every delegate at the conference received a copy of the book in their delegate bag.
Commenting on the day Helen Forrest who is chief executive of the charity said: “We are very proud of this wonderful book, as it represents what we stand for, and I would like to thank Millie and her mum for working with us to produce a publication that firmly focuses on my health and my rights. The conference presented the perfect occasion to launch it and we hope the delegates enjoy reading it.
“In relation to the health and wellbeing of children and young people we are, without doubt, living in extremely difficult times. Every aspect of the future for the children and young people we support, and those they love, is at risk. So, what I’ve taken from our conference today is that now, more than ever, we need to support the children and young people who need us most. And, when doing this, we need to support one another. We’re so proud that so many came along to today to raise the importance of the health and wellbeing and the right of every child to the best possible health. Thank you.”
Dr William Bird MBE, Family GP and CEO of Intelligent Health and Dr Suzanne Zeedyk, Research Scientist and author of The Connected Baby delivered thought provoking Guest Presentations during the day, with creative and inspiring workshops delivered by The Care Inspectorate, Play Scotland, Dr Suzanne Zeedyk, The LUNA Project and Children’s Health Scotland. During the afternoon a superb panel formed to discuss and debate the conference theme of My Health, My Rights, with questions a mix of those submitted ahead of the conference from children and young people and delegates, and those taken on the day from our audience. Panel members consisted of:
- Helen Bauld, Professional Health Advisor to Scottish Government, Getting it Right for Every Child Team and a Trustee for Children’s Health Scotland.
- Dr William Bird, Family GP and CEO of Intelligent Health.
- Angela Bradley, Kinship Carer to grandson, Jayden and Chair of local Kinship Care Management Group.
- Eve Mclaren, a young volunteer with Children’s Health Scotland.
- Dr Mairi Stark is the Scottish Officer for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and a full-time General Paediatrician at RHCYP Edinburgh.
- Dr Suzanne Zeedyk, Research Scientist and author of The Connected Baby.
The conference ended with the presentation of the Scottish Children’s Health Awards and the winners of each category can be viewed online at www.childrenshealthscotland.org.