Skip to main content

Health: Children's Palliative Care

Volume 699: debated on Tuesday 19 February 2008

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Ivan Lewis) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

In May 2006, the Secretary of State announced details of an independent review of palliative care services for children and young people with life-limiting or life-threatening illnesses and their families.

This independent review was an important piece of work. It offered us a crucial opportunity to look at current provision and consider what more can be done to improve the sustainability and accessibility of children’s palliative care services in both the statutory and voluntary sectors. The Government accepted and endorsed the recommendations contained in the review report and committed to the delivery of a first ever national strategy for children’s palliative care to meet the expectations of the review, of sector stakeholders and of children and families.

The strategy, which is launched today, sets out clear expectations for improving choice, access and continuity of care, and seeks to place palliative care at the centre of local children’s service provision. It highlights how commissioners, providers and teams of palliative care professionals can shape the provision of services to meet the needs of children, young people and their families. In addition, it emphasises the roles that each can play in providing child-focused, family-centred services and gives examples of what could be put in place to achieve this.

The policy sits as a framework for future service development. It seeks to highlight the key aspects of the independent review and challenge local areas to take this group of children more seriously. Accordingly, local areas will need to devise their own strategies and spend their money better to deliver more effective and more equitable services.

The findings of the Independent Review of Children’s Palliative Care Services and the cross-government programme Aiming High for Disabled Children are backed by a significant financial commitment to help deliver the step-change in service provision that is needed for these children, young people and their families, all of whom wish to pursue ordinary lives, achieve their full potential and make a contribution to society.

A copy of the report has been placed in the Library.