By Lucy Ashton
Dumbarton constituency candidate Jackie Baillie, pictured right, is backing the Children’s Hospice’s Across Scotland (CHAS) manifesto, which calls on politicians of all parties to stand alongside the 16,700 families across Scotland facing the terrifying heartbreak that their child may die young.
This comes at a time when the number of babies, children and young people in Scotland living with a life-shortening condition is increasing. In Greater Glasgow and Clyde Heath Board area, there are 3526 children with palliative care needs and in NHS Highland the number is 859 (2018/19 data).
The charity, which is the single national provider of children’s hospice services in Scotland, has published its manifesto ahead of the Scottish parliament elections. The manifesto sets a vision that children with complex palliative care needs should have timely access to care and support, where and when it’s needed, backed by sustainable funding.
To achieve this, CHAS’s manifesto sets out five crucial calls that it is asking candidates across all political parties to back:
- Continued sustainable funding for children’s hospice care in Scotland over the next 5 years
- A new national plan for palliative care in Scotland that addresses the needs of children
- More specialist training for health and social care staff, to meet increasingly complex needs
- Better financial support for struggling families, including after a child dies
- Bespoke support for children with complex needs living into adulthood
Jackie Baillie said: “Children with life-shortening conditions might live shorter lives, but it’s so important that their time is filled with love, compassion and care, and that’s why I’m lending my support to CHAS. When time is precious, it’s time to act.”
Rami Okasha, CEO of CHAS, said: “Much has been achieved over the course of the last Parliament, but the numbers of children with life-shortening conditions are going up. The need for care is greater than ever. We are asking politicians from all parties to look at a range of actions that will truly make a difference to these families.
“This includes bespoke support at the toughest times like when a child dies or grows into adulthood with very complex needs, better financial support for struggling families, sustainable funding for children’s hospice care, and making sure there is a new generation of nurses and doctors skilled in supporting children with short lives.
“Politicians have a key role in helping keep the joy alive even in the face of death.”
Find out more about the CHAS manifesto at: https://www.chas.org.uk/about-us/our-vision/our-publications#CHAS-Manifesto
- Top picture is of volunteers who help to raise funds for CHAS at Dumbarton Sheriff Court.