Children’s Hospice Association Scotland

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 18th September 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Joe FitzPatrick Joe FitzPatrick Scottish National Party

We have a good relationship with CHAS. We work with CHAS as partners, and that is a good way to continue working. Government officials and CHAS frequently get around the table to make sure that we are doing everything that we can to complement each other’s role and to find out what we can add to that area.

The type of skilled, compassionate care that CHAS delivers is now more important than ever. As “Children in Scotland requiring Palliative Care: identifying numbers and needs (The ChiSP Study)” notes, the demand for such services is increasing, particularly in deprived areas. That brings me to Monica Lennon’s point. As she mentioned, the data that CHAS produced is recognised as some of the best-quality data in the world. It is important that we have that kind of data, so that we can have those conversations. Again, I thank CHAS for producing it.

However, Scotland is already a world leader in the field of palliative and end-of-life care, and I am proud of the progress that we have made over the past few years. We have increased the number of specialist staff, we are continuing to improve access to services and, through our programme of health and social care integration, we are putting services under the control of local communities. Nevertheless, as CHAS reflected in its briefing, we can always do more.

Our “Strategic Framework for Action on Palliative and End of Life Care 2016-2021”, which was published in December 2015, included a much-needed commitment to support and promote the further development of holistic palliative care for the 0-to-25-years age group. Since the publication of the framework, we have undertaken more work to improve the care that is available for young people with palliative care needs and their families. We remain committed to ensuring that everyone who needs palliative care will be able to access it by the end of this parliamentary session.

That is why we have focused particularly on specialist children’s palliative care services. In 2017, we announced an investment in children’s palliative care of £30 million over five years, up until 2021.·CHAS welcomed that investment, which has been helpful in expanding children’s palliative care services to ensure that all families, regardless of where they live, have access to high-quality palliative and end-of-life care.

Members will be aware that, earlier this year, we also launched the paediatric end-of-life care national managed clinical network—PELiCaN. Hosted by NHS National Services Scotland, that network is designed to improve access to high-quality, person-centred and family-led end-of-life care for babies, children and young people with a life-limiting condition who are unstable, deteriorating or dying. CHAS has long supported the idea of the network and, from the outset, has worked closely with Scottish Government officials and NHS NSS to shape the work to ensure that it meets the needs of children and families across Scotland. Thanks in no small part to the work of CHAS, the network is now in place, and recruitment for key clinical positions has commenced. I look forward to seeing how the work progresses over the coming months.

Although PELiCaN will be helpful in linking clinical services and sharing learning across the country, we still need services to work in partnership with each other to provide high-quality care and support. To achieve that vision, it is essential that we create the right conditions nationally to support local communities in their planning and delivery of services, to ensure that the needs of local communities are best met. That ethos is at the heart of health and social care integration. Integration authorities are working with local communities and are building on the expertise of organisations such as CHAS to plan and commission services that are designed to meet the needs of their local communities. By commissioning services in that way, service improvements will be driven through meaningful collaborative partnerships with the wider palliative and end-of-life care community. Annabel Ewing mentioned how important those partnerships are to success.

CHAS is already engaging with integration authorities and is working in partnership with the health, social care and voluntary sectors to make the most of every opportunity to improve delivery of and access to children’s palliative care across Scotland. In short, CHAS’s work is a great example of the principles of health and social care integration in practice. I am grateful to CHAS for its invaluable work, and I am optimistic that, through our combined efforts and continued partnership working, we will bring about further improvements in children’s palliative and end-of-life care. CHAS aims to ensure that every baby, child and young person who needs palliative care, wherever they are, can access it where and when they need it. I am sure we all share that aim, and I look forward to working with CHAS and others around the chamber for many years to come.

Meeting closed at 17:46.