The prevalence of babies, children and young people in Scotland with life-shortening conditions is rising, and an increase in palliative care services is required to meet their needs according to a new report, Children in Scotland requiring Palliative Care (ChiSP), which was launched today by Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport.
The ChiSP report, which looked at children and young people with life-shortening conditions from 0-25 showed a 50% increase over a ten-year period: In 2013/14 there were 6,661 under 25s with a life-shortening condition, compared with 4,334 in 2003/04.
The increase is due to a number of factors including advances in medical technology, with many children now living longer than previously expected.
The report was undertaken by Dr Lorna Fraser and Professor Bryony Beresford from the University of York and funded by the Managed Service Network for Children and Young People with Cancer and Children’s Hospice Association Scotland.
The new data helps to shine a light on the growing number and needs of children and young people requiring palliative care and has implications for all those planning, funding and delivering services across the UK.
“The figures in the ChiSP report indicate that the number of children and young people with life-shortening conditions is much higher than previously understood,” says Barbara Gelb OBE, Chief Executive of Together for Short Lives.
“This has significant implications for those planning, funding and delivering services across the UK and for Governments in making sure that the palliative care needs of these children, and their families, is met. We must respond to the growing number and needs of these children and families.
“A society is measured by how it treats its most vulnerable members; we therefore call on the Chancellor to take the opportunity to make sure the needs of children and young people are recognised in the Comprehensive Spending Review and for Government to work with the children’s palliative care sector to ensure the best quality of life and the best quality of death for those children with life-shortening conditions.”