Charities call on Scottish government for improved children’s palliative care

Categories: In The Media.

In Scotland there are over 15 000 young people that are under the age of 25 and living with a life threatening condition.  These conditions are often complex and unpredictable and require around the clock care. Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) and Together for Short Lives strongly believe that children in Scotland with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions deserve better care, and have launched campaigns calling for the improvement of children’s palliative care.

CHAS is calling on all new Members of the Scottish Parliament to ensure that their palliative care services are available to every child that may need it and that their services on offer are better suited for families. Currently 25% of CHAS running costs are government funded. CHAS would like to see the next government commit to meeting 50% of the agreed running costs.

Maria McGill, CHAS Chief Executive said, “More reliable funding will allow the charity to reach and support more of the two thirds of babies, children and young people who die each year in Scotland without access to specialist palliative support.” She continued to say “research in 2015 has shown a far higher number of babies, children and young people in Scotland aged 0 – 25 years have life-shortening conditions than previously estimated. The number is more than 15 000 and includes those with oncology and neurology diagnoses, as well as with congenital abnormalities. To reach this significant group we need to work with politicians and policy makers to ensure that CHAS has the right support from our partners across the NHS and local authorities to meet the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.”

In their recently released document, Transforming the Lives of Children with Life-Shortening Conditions, Together for Short Lives has emphasized a few of their challenges, including

  1. Need for fair and sustainable funding for children’s palliative care providers
  2. Better identification of those who can benefit from palliative and end of life care
  3. Enhanced access to short breaks for children and their families

Barbara Gelb OBE, Together for Short Lives, Chief Executive said, “The 15 000 children and young people, who may not survive into adulthood, deserve to be able to access services that are sustainably funded and staffed by those with the specialist skills and knowledge required to support them. Time is short for these families and it is vital that all parties set out how they will act to improve children’s palliative care in Scotland so that these families can make the very most of their short time together.” To read the full article, click here.