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End of life care for children unequal too

News and comment

Together for Short Lives has expressed deep concern at the findings of the Care Quality Commission’s review into end of life care in England – and has highlighted how shortfalls in care for dying adults are reflected in end of life care for children and young people too.

Commenting on the findings, Barbara Gelb OBE, Chief Executive of Together for Short Lives said:

“I am deeply troubled by what the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has uncovered. While the review has only looked at end of life care for adults, problems like professionals failing to understand people’s needs, not holding conversations about end of life and not joining up care for people with complex needs are all major issues which affect children and young people at end of their lives too. While there are countless examples of great care which we should celebrate, the many failings in end of life care experienced by vulnerable children are unacceptable and are unbecoming of a civilised society.

“All too often end of life care policy and discussion is adult only focused. It’s time to recognise that children and young people die too. 5,000 children die each year in England and Wales, and of these 2,500 will die from life-shortening or life-threatening conditions. I urge commissioners and providers of palliative care to implement the CQC’s recommendations for both children and adults. It is vital that these children receive high quality end of life care which is appropriate to their age and developmental stage. I also call on CQC to make sure that it consistently holds to account all organisations which provide end of life care to children, regardless of the sector or setting in which they operate.”


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