Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Support for Life-shortening Conditions — [Andrew Percy in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 7th June 2016.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Stuart Andrew Stuart Andrew Conservative, Pudsey 9:30 am, 7th June 2016

The hon. Gentleman makes an important point, which I will come to later.

Some 49,000 children and young people are living with conditions that are life shortening, by which we mean conditions for which there is no reasonable hope of a cure and from which most of those young people are expected to die. The conditions can include conditions for which curative treatment may be feasible but can fail, as is often the case with cancers or congenital heart diseases; conditions for which premature death is inevitable but where there may be prolonged periods during which the child is well, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy; progressive conditions such as Batten disease, without any curative treatment; and irreversible, but non-progressive, conditions that cause severe disability, leading to susceptibility to health complications and premature death, such as severe brain injuries.

The number of young people affected by one of those four categories of condition is equivalent to one child in every single school, and 50% of the 5,000 children who die in the UK each year will have one of those conditions. Of course, the number of people affected in other ways is much higher. Parents, siblings and other family members and friends can bring the number close to 400,000 people, which equates to more people than the population of the city of Leicester.

The 49,000 children and young people need palliative care from the point at which their condition is diagnosed or recognised—often at birth—until the end of their lives. There is an entire package of outcomes that good palliative care should achieve, which is quite different from that which adults receive given that children often need care throughout their entire life. Good care should meet children’s physical, social and emotional needs, enhancing their quality of life to ensure that the child and their family can come to terms with such life-altering issues.