Published: 16/09/2004, Volume II4, No. 5923 Page 4 5

Children's czar Professor Al Aynsley-Green has called on all trusts to appoint a senior staff member to co-ordinate children's services.

He told HSJ that although the spotlight had been turned on children's services over the last year, many primary care trusts still did not have a person in a senior position responsible for children's services.

Announcing the publication of the children's national service framework yesterday, Professor Aynsley-Green called on NHS managers to assess the criteria they have in place to implement the NSF.

'Chief executives need to look at their role and strategy across children's services and at how they will performance-manage and implement the NSF.'

He added that managers needed to make sure that when mainstreaming policy, they ask themselves what impact it will have on children.

'Managers also need to look at how [children's] services and the organisations in their local patch relate to local government and social services'.

He told HSJ it was crucial that managers find ways to incentivise staff to take 'children's services seriously'.

'There is a big issue of how people who matter in the NHS - such as chief executives, chairs, and board members - understand children and their needs, ' he warned.

'Children's services are often an add-on and there is poor understanding between the NHS and social care and education services.We do not have a plan B. If we do not seize these opportunities we will do a great disservice to children and families across the UK, ' he said.

Professor Aynsley-Green said that he also wanted to see children and family forums established in every trust similar to patient forums to monitor children's services and make sure that the NHS took a 'child-centric approach'.

In the frame: the 11 NSF priorities

Promoting health and well-being; identifying needs and intervening early

Supporting parents or carers

Child, young person and family-centred services

Growing up into adulthood

Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people

Children and young people who are ill

Disabled children and young people and those with complex needs

Mental health and psychological well-being of children and young people

Medicines management for children

Maternity services

Children and young people in hospital (launched April 2003)