Dr Patricia Lucas and Dr Jo Williams, Directors of the Early Years Health and Wellbeing Health Integration Team (BoNEE HIT), give an update on the HIT's progress in 2014-15.
The Bristol Network for Equality in Early Years Health and Wellbeing Health Integration Team (BoNEE) brings together researchers, doctors, nurses, children's centre staff, community groups and parents, to tackle the health inequalities that have a profound and lifelong impact on the health and wellbeing of children. Deprivation in Bristol is higher than average for England, with nearly 20,000 children living in poverty. Around one in 13 children in Bristol have a chronic or potentially disabling condition which impacts on their daily lives. With a rising child population, Bristol needs a local evidence base along with staff and services that recognise and respond to inequalities in children's health.
We have identified three priority areas, covering antenatal to children aged seven. These are oral health, early nutrition and social and emotional wellbeing, and these focus activities in our working groups. These areas are underpinned by the cross-cutting themes of involving people in solutions and reducing the impact of poverty.
BoNEE officially launched in November with an exhibition, 'Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes: young children's pictures of health', at the Trinity Centre in Bristol. As part of this project, we asked children in Children's Centres to draw pictures of their bodies and what keeps them healthy. We produced a short video on how we worked with children to make the art, which was shown at the event. It was also an opportunity for parents and other attendees to tell us what they thought the health priorities for children under seven in Bristol should be. The launch was covered by local media including the Bristol Post and ITV West Country.
We are also working on a study to better understand oral health in Bristol, and how it varies from area to area. We will look at dental hospital records of who is attending for dental extractions, develop a better understanding of what happens when children do visit the dentist, and gather parents’ views and experiences of oral health services in Bristol. We were also lucky enough to host a talk in March from Professor Lisa Gibbs of the Jack Brockhoff Child Health and Wellbeing Programme at the University of Melbourne, on cross-sectoral action to maximise good oral health in children.