Norman Lamb, MP for North Norfolk, has committed to support the charity Together for Short Lives’ call to provide better support for children and young people who need palliative care and their families.
The charity, which speaks out for the 49,000 children and young people in the UK who are expected to have short lives, held a special Westminster reception on Tuesday 7th February to highlight the devastating impact that life-limiting and life-threatening conditions can have on children and their families.
MPs heard about the action that the charity would like the Chancellor to take to help these vulnerable families when he delivers his Budget next month, including adequate funding for children’s palliative care services and investment in community nursing teams. The reception also saw the launch of the new All-Party Parliamentary Group for Children Who Need Palliative Care – a forum for MPs and Peers to discuss issues facing seriously ill children and possible action they can take in Parliament to help.
Children with life-limiting conditions require a wide range of professionals working together across different health and care services to support them. Unfortunately, Together for Short Lives’ commissioning maps show that there is a postcode lottery of support for children and their families. Many cannot access the care they need, because it is not available in their area or there are not enough professionals with the right skills and experience.
NHS England is currently undertaking a review of the Children’s Hospice Grant, and Mr Lamb has written to the Health Secretary and the Chief Executive of NHS England urging them to increase the value of the grant so that every seriously ill child receives the care they need.
Commenting after the event, Mr Lamb said:
“I really appreciated having the opportunity to learn about the wonderful support that children with life-shortening conditions receive from a range of services, including local children’s hospices and palliative care services.
“There is evidently much more to do to help families overcome the serious challenges they face on a day-to-day basis. I support the charity's call to make the mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance available to children under three who are dependent on heavy and bulky life support equipment. Currently this benefit is only available to children aged three or over.
“I have written on behalf of East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices to the Health Secretary and to Simon Stevens, urging them to respond to the growing demand for services and the increasing complexity of care required by increasing the value of the Children’s Hospice Grant. Every child with a serious, life-shortening illness deserves high-quality compassionate care, and the Government must make sure that local services have the resources they need to deliver this
“I look forward to working with Together for Short Lives in Parliament to support children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions and their families.”