Together for Short Lives has welcomed some positive action by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in today’s Autumn Statement (17 November). But the charity has warned much more is needed to avert crisis for families of children who will have short lives this winter.
Andy Fletcher, Chief Executive of Together for Short Lives, said:
“I welcome the Chancellor’s additional cost of living support for vulnerable people. The additional £900 to households on means-tested benefits and £150 to people on disability benefits are a positive step. It is also good that the Energy Price Guarantee is being extended.”
“However, this will still represent an increase in the unit cost of energy, which means families with seriously ill children who rely on technology to stay alive will pay even more. It is right that the government is now consulting on the best ways to ensure that these children are not put at risk. But providing an additional energy assistance payment for their families, where they are unable to access medical grants from the NHS, should be a priority now.”
“The Treasury’s review of the Energy Bill Relief Scheme should also account for the support that children’s hospice and palliative care charities will need with the rising cost of energy bills.”
“Amid a worsening children’s palliative care workforce crisis, it is good news that the government will finally publish an NHS workforce plan for England. This must take account of the health professionals needed by voluntary sector providers, including children’s hospice and palliative care charities, which have a vital role in health and care systems.
“Any plan must be accompanied by investment in education and training, including for children’s palliative care nursing. An increase spending on specialist paediatric palliative medicine GRID and SPIN training to £2.26million per is needed urgently.”
“It is vital that some of the additional £3.3billion in the next two years to support the NHS in England goes towards filling the £301million gap in children’s palliative care. The £1.3 billion in 2023/24 and £1.9 billion in 2024/25 for social care in England must help fill the £573million local authority funding gap in disabled children’s social care.”
“We understand the acute pressure on the public finances. But without these key investments, too many families will be forced to use expensive, unplanned emergency services as they reach crisis point.”
“Time is short for seriously ill children. The government should act urgently to ensure they receive the care and support they need to make the most of the time they have.”
Together for Short Lives is calling on people to ask their MP to take action on the cost of living for seriously ill children and their families. Find out how you can help here.
We understand the acute pressure on the public finances. But without these key investments, too many families will be forced to use expensive, unplanned emergency services as they reach crisis point.Andy Fletcher, Chief Executive, Together for Short Lives