RACP Annual Report 2022
© 2023 The Royal Australasian College of Physicians
Goal Five
Kids COVID Catch Up Campaign
In February 2022, the College launched a flagship campaign to help children and young people to catch up from the various setbacks of the COVID-19 pandemic, based on several policy positions already established by the Paediatrics and Child Health Division.
The campaign launched with an exclusive media story in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, as well as packages on Channel 10’s The Project and ABC TV, and interviews on radio stations right across the nation.
In launching the campaign, RACP President (then President-Elect) and Paediatrician Dr Jacqueline Small told media outlets, “Some of the long-term impacts on children’s learning and development are still yet to be realised. Because of the pandemic’s more serious impact for adults – we’ve seen the health and wellbeing of children take a backseat. It’s time to put children first.
“Whether it’s the loss of learning from missed face-to-face teaching, the emotional impact of reduced social connection with their peers, or the lack of access to sport, recreational, and cultural activities, the COVID-19 pandemic has overturned many parts of children’s lives.”
To support the launch, the College also held a virtual Child Health Summit, with RACP members and key stakeholders in attendance.
Speakers included the National Children's Commissioner Anne Hollonds, Advanced Trainee in Paediatrics and proud Gamilaraay woman Dr Elkie Hull, Melbourne high-school student and UNICEF Young Ambassador Chris O’Connell, Director, Centre for Community Child Health, Professor Sharon Goldfeld, co-Chair of the steering committee of the National Children’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy, Professor Frank Oberklaid, and CEO of the Australian Council of Social Service Dr Cassandra Goldie.
The summit was opened by paediatrician Dr Katie Allen, who at the time was a Member of Parliament, and closed by the then Shadow Assistant Minister for Health, Ged Kearney, who is currently Assistant Minister for Health.
Some of the campaign successes in 2022 included commitments from the now Federal Government to review the support required for children with disability in schools (Recommendation 4), in response to the campaign, as well as bi-partisan commitments to boost mental health funding for children and young people (Recommendation 3). It has also led to Dr Sophie Scamps MP committing to introduce a Private Members Bill to restrict advertising of unhealthy diets to children and young people (Recommendation 6), and commitments from the NSW and Victorian governments to expand access to early childhood care (Commitment 5). You can find out more about the campaign by heading to: www.kidscatchup.org.au
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RACP in Parliament House In November President of the RACP’s Paediatric and Child Health Division, Professor Nitin Kapur, attended Parliament House to outline the urgent need for national regulations on junk food advertising. The roundtable event was hosted by MP Dr Sophie Scamps FRACGP and several other MPs.