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Make sure your next MP delivers for children who need palliative care

News and comment

With less than one week to until polling day, prospective parliamentary candidates (PPCs) from all the parties contesting the general election are making their final pitches to voters across the UK.

If a candidate knocks on your door, you have a vital opportunity to ask them what they would do to make sure seriously ill children in your constituency can access the palliative care they need.

We suggest five key issues to put to those asking for your vote. Please ask them if they will:

  1. Review the way in which children’s palliative care is funded in England – and fill the £295 million funding gap.
  2. Fill the £2.4 million funding gap in children’s palliative medicine consultant training – and fill funding gaps in educating other professionals, including NHS community children’s nurses.
  3. Commit to action to use the existing children’s palliative care workforce more effectively – and to increase the number of professionals who have the skills and experience to provide palliative care to children.
  4. Fund lifeline voluntary sector providers in England – including children’s hospices – equitably and sustainably for the long-term. In England, this should include a commitment to maintaining ringfenced, centrally distributed NHS England funding for children’s hospices beyond 2024/25 which increases by at least the rate of inflation.
  5. Hold local NHS bodies and councils to greater account for the way in which they plan and fund children’s palliative care services.

If any candidates ask for detail about state of children’s palliative care in your constituency, you can refer them to our interactive maps which show where seriously ill children across the UK can access 24/7 end of life care at home which meets National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) quality standards.

In England, only a third of local areas are meeting this standard.

By asking candidates these questions, you can get a clearer sense of what their party would do to support seriously ill children. You can also influence them to press for these policies to be put in place should they be elected to parliament. If you are unsure as to who your local candidates are, you can find out here.

Many seriously ill children will not be alive the next time a UK general election is held. We have one chance we have to get it right for them. Let’s do everything we can to make sure the next parliament delivers the policies that these families urgently need.

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