Following the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care’s decision to mandate COVID vaccinations for health and care professionals in England from April 2022, Together for Short Lives has called on the government to act to make sure children’s palliative care services are sustainably staffed in hospitals, children’s hospices and in the community.
Andy Fletcher, Chief Executive of Together for Short Lives, said:
“Many children who are identified as clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable are those who have serious and complex health conditions and need palliative care. Children’s palliative care services and those working in them have an important responsibility to provide the safest care possible care to these children. Unless they are medically exempt, workers can help to reduce their risk of contracting or infecting children and families with COVID and flu by making sure that they are vaccinated.”
“However, I am concerned that children’s palliative care cannot afford to lose any clinical staff. Children’s palliative care teams are typically small; even low numbers of workers leaving would put them under more pressure than they are already under.”
“I call on the government to now support children’s palliative care providers, including voluntary sector organisations such as children’s hospices, to mitigate any impacts. This includes urgent action to fill the existing workforce gaps among nurses, specialist consultants and other workers. It is also vital that employers receive clear government advice to manage the human resource challenges which will arise if some staff still refuse to be vaccinated.”
“Other measures, such as regular testing, sufficient personal protective equipment for staff, hand washing and ventilation, should also be maintained.”
"Children’s palliative care cannot afford to lose any clinical staff"Andy Fletcher, Chief Executive, Together for Short Lives