As we digest the outcome of the 2017 General Election we should also reflect on commitments on palliative and hospice care made by some of the parties in their manifestos. This cross-party recognition is good news for the 49,000 children and young people with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions across the UK – something Together for Short Lives has been actively campaigning for, so that those with the weakest, most vulnerable, voice have the chance for their voice to be heard and listened to.
The new Parliament presents an opportunity for a fresh approach to children’s palliative care – one which responds to the needs and concerns of children and families and ensures that statutory and charitable services are adequately funded to provide the vital 24/7 care and support they need.
With the Conservatives set to lead a minority government, we look to the commitments made in their manifesto to improve care for people in England at the end of life and to ensure all families who lose a baby are given the bereavement support they need, including a new entitlement to child bereavement leave across the UK. They have also stated that they will review support for children in need to understand why their outcomes are so poor and what more support they might require, in and out of school. Together for Short Lives is keen to work with the government to make sure that these commitments are realised at the earliest opportunity so that outcomes for children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions and their families can be improved as soon as possible.
It is vital that the government acts to transform the lives of children and young people with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions. They are among the most vulnerable in our society and must not become victims of the political uncertainty which the election has created. All of the main parties committed in their manifestos to better align and join up health and social care services. The importance of getting this right for these families is beyond party politics. It is a moral outrage that the needs of these children and their families have, to date, been largely ignored or sidelined by those who plan and fund our health and care services. This is a chance to right the wrongs of the past. Together for Short Lives is committed to working with government, and all parties, to build a coalition of support to intervene early and meet the needs of children and young people so that we can achieve the best quality of life and end of life care for these families and their children, however short that life might be. This is the shared hallmark of a good societyBarbara Gelb OBE, Chief Executive of Together for Short Lives
You can read Together for Short Lives’ briefing on the impact that the Conservative manifesto could have on children with life-limiting conditions
You can read Together for Short Lives’ briefing on the impact that the Northern Ireland parties manifestos (including the DUP) could have on children with life-limiting conditions