Our History

Action for Sick Children is a registered charity, founded over fifty years ago at a time when parents were actively discouraged from staying with their child and visiting hours were very restricted.

Researcher and film-maker James Robertson had already demonstrated with his documentaries 'a two year old goes to hospital' (1953) and 'Going to hospital with Mother' (1953) that the most distressing part of hospitalisation for a child was not the pain of illness, but the separation from mother. In the light of the television broadcast of these films, and the recommendation from the government report 'The welfare of Children in hospital' (Platt Report) that visiting all children should be unrestricted, a group initially called Mother Care for Children in Hospital was formed in 1961.

Mother Care for Children in Hospital sought to persuade hospitals that the Platt Report recommendations could work. Meetings held across the country led to the formation of local branches, which still exist today. The then Ministry of Health and many professionals were sympathetic to the cause and the movement grew. MCCH became known as the National Association for the Welfare of Children in Hospital – NAWCH - growing into a national multi-disciplinary organisation of parents and health professionals campaigning for family centred care. NAWCH changed its name to Action for Sick Children in 1991 to reflect the increasing amount of healthcare taking place in the community rather than hospital.

Today the charity focuses on national issues together with its network of branches, who also work locally to improve health services for children and young people.

Action for Sick Children has been influential in promoting a pattern of healthcare for children, young people and their families. We have contributed to government consultation documents as well as many other committees pertaining to health services for children and young people. The Action for Sick Children Standards of Care were published in early 90s and adopted nationwide. These have included Every Child Matters, National Service Framework and the new Childrens Forum. 

Major improvements in children's health services have taken place and the charity continues to play an influential consultative role to key policy makes and government in the development of healthcare policies for children. Action for Sick Children is proud of the role it has played in the recognition of the importance of the emotional, social and psychological needs of sick children.