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Report (6th Day)

Part of Health and Social Care Bill – in the House of Lords at 3:45 pm on 8th March 2012.

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Photo of Lord Warner Lord Warner Labour 3:45 pm, 8th March 2012

My Lords, I speak from a background of having been a director of social services and being involved in reforming youth justice. Collectively, the adult world is very bad at representing the needs of children to service providers. It would be a modest but important change in this legislation if we brought out that the term "people" does include adults and children. A lot of people in the adult world simply assume that "people" means "adults" and does not mean "children". We see in the NHS, for example, particularly for the teenage years, that services are often provided in a way which is almost bound to deter engagement and involvement by young people in receiving those services and in dealing with some of the problems that they have.

We need to change the culture. We must ensure that in the new healthwatch system-whether it is the one that some of us would have liked or the one that there will actually be-people are sensitive to the needs of children, particularly at the local healthwatch level, and that those needs are not overlooked. It is not just a matter of making children feel better and that they are being listened to. It is actually about how we can get the services shaped to head off at a much earlier stage some of the trouble that is looming for many of these children, in terms of obesity, drugs, sexual health and unwanted pregnancy. I hope that the Government will listen sympathetically to this and move the kind of amendment that my noble friend Lady Massey has moved so ably.