Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) has launched its first ever Scottish Parliament election manifesto for improving holistic palliative care for babies, children and young people aged 0-25 years in Scotland.
The document, Better Care for Children with Shorter Lives, offers a blueprint for politicians to put hospice services for babies, children and young people with life-shortening conditions at the heart of Scotland’s healthcare debate in this year’s Scottish Parliament election.
The charity is calling for the new intake of MSPs to work together to ensure that every child who needs CHAS services has the opportunity; that families have the widest range of support that meets their individual needs; and to support the principle that statutory funding for CHAS must be brought in line with the 50% of agreed costs rightly provided to adult hospice services.
Maria McGill, CHAS chief executive, said: “Our 2016 election manifesto highlights a range of measures that politicians need to address to ensure that babies, children and young people and their families have access to the best holistic palliative care services possible.
“Research in 2015 has shown a far higher number of babies, children and young people in Scotland aged 0-25 years have life-shortening conditions than previously estimated. The number is more than 15000 and includes those with oncology and neurology diagnoses, as well as with congenital abnormalities.
“To reach this significant group we need to work with politicians and policy makers to ensure that CHAS has the right support from our partners across the NHS and local authorities to meet the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.”
CHAS will be discussing Better Care for Children with Shorter Lives with politicians and policy makers at a pre-election hustings event held in collaboration with Marie Curie this week.
On Tuesday, April 19, CHAS staff, young people, families, carers and supporters will also have the opportunity to meet with and question politicians from parties contesting this May’s Scottish Parliament election. They will be able to hear their views on the manifesto at a policy engagement event at Rachel House children’s hospice in Kinross.