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Oldham MP calls on ministers to meet their commitment to dying children

Date published: 28 November 2018


Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams has given her support to a report by a cross-party group of MPs and peers which has revealed that England’s most vulnerable children are not able to access the full range of care and support that the government has committed to. 

Babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions, and their families, need a spectrum of health and social care services to meet their often complex needs.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Children Who Need Palliative Care has been examining the extent to which the government is meeting its end of life care choice commitment to these seriously ill children and their families. 

Commenting on the findings of the report, Mrs Abrahams said: “Despite the commitment, which outlines six ways ministers believe that people approaching the end of their lives should be supported, the APPG has heard evidence from young-people, families, services and professionals that the quality of palliative care children and families can access is patchy and depends on where in England they live. 

“Cross party MPs and peers state that this is unfair and represents a wholly unjustified health inequality.”

The APPG’s report, 'End of life care: strengthening choice', highlights five areas of particular concern, where many children and their families have limited access to:

children’s palliative care out of hours and at weekends

short breaks for respite

age-appropriate palliative care and smooth transitions to adult services

specialist children’s palliative care teams led by Level 4 consultants

advance care planning

The APPG has identified five areas in which it wants the government to take urgent action.

It would like to see ministers to take action on:

leadership and accountability

clarity for those who plan and fund (commission) children’s palliative care

funding

workforce 

integration.

Mrs Abrahams added: “By planning and funding children’s palliative care well we not only improve outcomes for children with life-limiting conditions and their families, but we also help prevent costly, emergency hospital admissions when they hit crisis point. 

“This report has shown is that too often we are failing some of England’s most vulnerable children by providing patchy access to crucial services such as advance care planning, specialist services, and short breaks for respite.

“The NHS 10-year plan offers an unmissable opportunity to put this right.

"I now call on ministers to work closely with the APPG to implement the recommendations they make, and ensure every family is receiving the level of care committed to in the government’s end of life care commitment.”


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