GOVERNMENT IGNORES 300,000 ‘INVISIBLE’ DISABLED CHILDREN OFFICIAL: MORE DISABLED CHILDREN IN THE UK THAN EVER BEFORE

BHTA Director of Communications, Lord Chris Rennard MBE said:  “BHTA Childrens’ Equipment Section says that their unmet needs must be addressed urgently or they will face many more problems in later life. New evidence in support of our campaign to ensure that the needs of disabled children are properly met comes from research conducted for the Newlife charity.   This shows that there are approximately 1.1 million disabled children in the UK.  See our paper Failing Disabled Children across the UK paper by clicking this link.

BHTA Interim Director General, Andrew Barker: “This is an alarming update and a sad indictment on us all when some of society’s most vulnerable and their families are left to fend for themselves.  Our own report published by our Children’s Equipment section highlights that any such unmet needs today will result in these children facing many more problems in later life.”

Newlife Press Release:

Official figures from research commissioned by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), show there are more disabled children in the UK than ever before, despite the government using five year old figures that have ‘forgotten’ to include 300,000 children.

The research clearly shows there are now 1.1 million disabled children in the UK.  Newlife, the UK’s leading children’s disability charity is urging the government not to forget the 300,000 disabled children missing in its own data and recognise there are more disabled children in the UK than ever before.

The ‘actual’ latest figures show an increase of 15% in the number of disabled children last year alone – explaining why local health and social care services are drastically failing to provide the care, support and equipment they need.

CEO of Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children, Sheila Brown, OBE said: “Disabled children are suffering, in severe pain, with their lives in danger because of a lack of essential equipment to meet their needs. How can Clinical Commissioning Groups, Local Authorities and Local Education Authorities adequately plan, budget and provide the services disabled children need if they’re using figures that are more than five years out of date and forget 300,000 disabled children?  Every disabled child deserves to be counted and have services in place that meet their needs.

“By correcting its own information the government has a real opportunity to improve service planning for disabled and terminally ill children and urgently improve essential services.  Recognising that there are 1.1 million disabled children, 300,000 more than the 0.8 million figures they use, will enable local commissioners to plan much more effectively on the level of need and support required.

“It’s time statutory services stepped up and addressed the fact that thousands of disabled children are relying on charity’s like Newlife for essential equipment and support, yet the law is clear in protecting these children’s rights.”

Newlife’s own research shows over half of families with disabled children said their child’s health was suffering as a result of delays in the assessment of their needs.  With 45% adding the health and wellbeing of their disabled child is deteriorating because of poor communication between health and social care services.

Sheila continues: “Every day we hear from families who feel abandoned and failed by the health system because of poor policies and inadequate budgets.  Frontline professionals are working with dedication to help children despite critical underfunding.”

Mia’s story

Mia Harvey has a floppy wind pipe which means she can choke at any time.  She desperately needs a special bed to keep her safe when she sleeps and to allow her mom to get to her quickly in an emergency.  She also needs a special buggy and a special car seat so she can go to medical appointments, visit family – simply go outside safely.  Mom is chronically sleep deprived and struggling to keep her own daughter safe.

Neither the local health or social care services in the West Midlands is willing to provide this essential equipment to her quickly enough to keep her safe, so her local Occupational Therapist supported an application to Newlife.

Newlife realised the urgency of Mia’s situation and stepped in to provide an emergency loan of the specialist bed and buggy she needs within just 72 hours of receiving her application.  The charity is now working with her local authorities to secure long term provision.

Sophia Harvey, Mia’s mum said: “Newlife is the only charity that gave me hope, and so quickly too.  Without them we’d have no future to look forward to.”

Newlife will shortly launch an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) to look at the issues effecting equipment provision for disabled children in the UK.

In a bid to further improve the situation for the families of disabled children, Newlife has sought Barrister advice to establish the legal rights of children and families to help healthcare professionals challenge decisions made at local level, in relation to statutory obligations for providing equipment.   Newlife will publish its full Barrister’s report later this year.

Media enquiries: Maggie Morrissey – Charity PR, Content and Media Campaigns Manager on 07968 997141/01543 423541 or email mmorrissey@newlifecharity.co.uk

More information about Newlife can be found at www.newlifecharity.co.uk. Or Follow us Facebook or Twitter to keep up to date with the latest Newlife news.



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