In England there are currently 40 000 children and young people living with life-shortening conditions. Together for Short Lives recently welcomed an important new government commitment which states that babies, children and young people in England with the most complex needs should be able to live their lives as they and their parents wish. To make this commitment a reality the organisation will require dedicated and sustainable funding as well as a specialist workforce.
This new commitment is included in the government’s response to a review of choice in end of life care which was commissioned by ministers and carried out by the National Council for Palliative Care between 2014 and 2015. In the response, the government states that
- To support high quality personalised care for children and young people, commissioners and providers of services must prioritise children’s palliative care in their strategic planning; this is so that services can work together seamlessly and advance care planning can be shared and acted upon
- Children and young people with complex needs should enjoy the same independence and choice which we all expect
- It is essential that the voices of children and young people are heard so that they are involved in care, able to express their needs and preferences and make informed choices about their care
The government’s commitment also highlights services such as children’s hospices, community children’s nursing services, paediatric inpatient services, GPs and wider networks of supporting services which life-limited children rely on. The government also recognizes Together for Short Lives and other voluntary sector organisations as key elements in securing palliative care for children and young people. Barbara Gelb OBE, Together for Short Lives Chief Executive said, “Its good news to see the government’s commitment to giving children and young people with life-shortening conditions the choices that they deserve. I commend the Minister’s decision to extend this new palliative and end of life care commitment to people of all ages. Sadly, too many families struggle to get the 24/7 palliative care they need and don’t have real choice in where their care is delivered. We now have the opportunity to change this.” To read this full article, click here.