Together for Short Lives calls on government to address workforce gaps in children’s palliative care

Categories: Policy.

The charity, which advocates on behalf of children in the UK with life-limiting and life-threatening illnesses, claims that some children with life-limiting conditions and their families are not able to access necessary care.

A 2014 report from the Royal College of Nursing recommends that a minimum of 20 community children’s nurses (CCNs) are needed to provide care to an average-sized district of 50,000 children.

Together for Short Lives warns that only 17 CCNs are due to qualify in the whole of the UK in 2014/15 and that this will lead to a void in the support provided for children with palliative care needs.

The charity is calling on MPs to press the government, commissioners and local workforce planners to ensure there is an adequate number of people with the right skills and experience to care for seriously ill children across the country.

Together for Short Lives chief executive Barbara Gelb urged the government to make Together for Short Lives’ recommendations a priority in its spending review later this month.

“Ministers can help families overcome the barriers to 24/7 services by investing in children’s palliative care in the spending review,” she said.

“More education and training places for community children’s nurses and a fairer and more sustainable statutory funding system for children’s palliative care would help families access the round the clock support they so desperately need.”

Stuart Andrew, the Conservative MP for Pudsey, added: “This government has made a seven-day NHS a priority. Where they are offered, front-line children’s palliative care services available at evenings and weekends can provide better outcomes for children and their families by offering support at home and in the community. 

“24/7 care also often means that children do not have to be taken into hospital unnecessarily. By delivering round the clock children’s palliative care, the NHS can work smarter for children with life-limiting conditions.”

This article first appeared in the UK edition of ehospice and is republished with permission. 

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