Bah, Humbug!

Given the day and the season of course we should be discussing the ickle ones, the children. Preferably without succumbing to Herod's appreciation of the subject. 

However, this latest report is not quite as we're told

Children from poor families are far more likely to end up in hospital A&E departments or need emergency treatment for conditions such as asthma and diabetes, according to shocking figures revealing the consequences of poverty in Britain.

In findings that senior doctors said showed the “devastating impact” of deprivation on child health, the nation’s poorest teenagers were found to be almost 70% more likely to appear in A&E than their less deprived counterparts.

We would, of course, like to know why this is happening. Further, to do something about it if only we could work out what.

However poverty has an impact on a range of other issues such as education, housing and continuity of healthcare,” he said. “We agree with the authors of this report when they say the most vulnerable children are being let down by health services and we back their calls for policymakers to focus on narrowing the inequalities gap. They can do this by reversing cuts to universal credit which actually leave the majority of families claiming this benefit worse off, and by the restoration of national targets to reduce child poverty, backed by a national child poverty strategy.”

The what probably not being that. For as we're continually being told, child poverty is rising in the UK. This is using the modern definition of relative poverty of course. Thus it is a measure of inequality - and it's not really true that inequality is rising in any significant manner. It fell during the recession, as it always does in a recession, and has been rising back to pre-recession levels since. Deprivation, as in absolute poverty, isn't a feature of British society even as it is true that some have less than others.

But the capping reason this isn't the solution comes from the report itself:

While, overall, emergency (or unplanned) hospital admissions have increased slightly (by 9 per cent between 2005/6 and 2015/16), the gap between the most and least deprived groups has narrowed.

Even as all the other things being complained about are, by the claimed measures, increasing, this inequality, that of emergency health care admissions, is falling. Thus the inequality of health care admissions cannot be caused by the widening inequalities being complained of elsewhere.

We should be more charitable on this day of course. But then we are in fact being charitable. For we too would prefer that the children are not ill, that parents are not consumed with worry as they wait for that emergency care. Which means that we do in fact have to identify what is causing this rather than leaping for polite society's explanation for all, economic inequality.

Bah, Humbug!