Lord Kamall, the government’s health and care minister in the House of Lords, has tabled an amendment to the Health and Care Bill which would specifically require integrated care boards (ICBs) to commission palliative care. We have been campaigning for similar changes with Marie Curie, Hospice UK, Sue Ryder and the Alzheimer’s Society.
Andy Fletcher, Chief Executive at Together for Short Lives said: “This is good news for seriously ill children, their families and the professionals and services who provide children’s palliative care. The extent to which children and their families can access the palliative care they need, when and where they need it, is very patchy and depends on where they live. I am grateful to ministers for listening to them.”
“If passed by parliament, this amendment will make it very clear that palliative care for people of all ages, including children and young people, must be commissioned across England. The government should now make sure that integrated care boards have the resources they need to meet this duty. It is also vital that hospital teams, community services and children’s hospices, provided by the NHS and voluntary sector, are given access to the finance and the workforce they need to deliver high standard of palliative care that seriously ill children and their families should expect.”
In other welcome news, the government has also tabled amendments which would:
- require ICBs in their joint forward plans to set out how they will address the needs of children and young people under the age of 25; this means that children and young people will be one of only two specific population groups specifically named in the bill
- require the Secretary of State to publish and lay before parliament (within a year) a report that describes the government’s policy in relation to information-sharing in children’s health, social care and safeguarding
- require ICBs to consider the skills mix of their boards, which we believe should include knowledge and experience of the health and wellbeing needs of children.
These amendments will be debated at the Health and Care Bill’s Report Stage, which is due to begin in the House of Lords on 1 March. If passed by parliament, ICBs will become statutory NHS bodies on 1 July this year.
You can read more about the bill here.
You can read all of the amendments tabled by peers ahead of the bill’s Report Stage here.
You can read a news story from The Times setting out what this means for children who require palliative care and services delivering palliative care.
If passed by parliament, this amendment will make it very clear that palliative care for people of all ages, including children and young people, must be commissioned across EnglandAndy Fletcher, Chief Executive of Together for Short Lives