I have a couple of points for the Minister. First, there is a lack of trained paediatric nurses, particularly in palliative care, and anything she can do to encourage people to train in that vital specialism would be hugely appreciated.
The other point is that children’s hospices are wonderful, remarkable places, but virtually all their money comes from the public through fundraising. Again, if there is anything the Minister can do to give them just a base coverage of funding on a statutory basis, year in, year out, would make such a difference to their being able to commit to those services.
Finally, drawing on my privileged experience of running a children’s hospice and meeting hundreds of families, the one thing that strikes me most is that all those families say that what they liked best about and what they got most from the hospice was being able to talk about their child who had passed. I had not realised that most people out there do not do that. They said that friends would cross the street to avoid talking to them, not because they were being mean but because they did not want to burden them. They did not want them to cry or to crumble. Actually, the one thing those families want more than anything is to talk about their child, because that is what keeps them alive in their heart.
This debate is so important to everybody involved, and I make this plea to everyone watching: please, just talk to that person and celebrate their child. However brief their life was, it was an important life that we need to recognise.