Joint commissioning for children’s palliative care

Care staff with young girl

A new guide released today by leading children’s palliative care charity Together for Short Lives aims to help clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), local authorities and health and wellbeing boards in England to work together to improve commissioning for palliative care for children and young people. ‘Jointly Commissioning Palliative Care for Children and Young People Aged 0 – 25’ provides a step by step guide to bringing about better outcomes for children, young people and their families. Many families struggle to cope with the round-the-clock care needed by their seriously ill child. Without properly funded care and support, these families can reach breaking point, putting extra pressure on GPs and emergency services.

CCGs and local authorities can find it difficult to commission children’s palliative care services due to the relatively small number of children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions in each local area. Funded by the Department for Education, Together for Short Lives’ new evidence-based guide is designed to help commissioners work together to identify these children. It also helps them to plan and fund services which provide good quality care when and where they need it. The guide sets out what local areas must and should do to implement the special educational needs and disability (SEND) reforms, the Care Act 2014 and the new approach to funding palliative care.

James Cooper, Head of Public Affairs at Together for Short Lives, said: “Children and young people with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions often have very complex needs, requiring care and support from a range of organisations and professionals. Short breaks are an integral part of the support they need. These should help families to recharge their batteries and take a break from providing round-the-clock care, safe in the knowledge that the child’s often complex needs are being met.

"Properly commissioned children’s palliative care services, including short breaks, can achieve cost-savings for the NHS by preventing emergency hospital admissions and other acute crises among families. It’s particularly important for CCGs, local authorities and health and wellbeing boards to work together to get this right for these families who don’t have time to waste.”

There is no charge to download and view the guide.

To further help local areas in England to jointly commission children’s palliative care, Together for Short Lives is hosting two master classes. These free, all-day events will take place on:

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