Research shows £1.5 billion funding gap for seriously ill and disabled children

The Disabled Children’s Partnership (DCP) – a coalition of 60 charities, including Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity – has published research showing a £1.5 billion funding gap for health and social care services needed by disabled and seriously ill children. This investment shortfall and its consequences were highlighted in a BBC Panorama programme. ‘Fighting for My Child’, broadcast on Monday 16 July.

The prevalence of life threatening and terminal conditions among children is rising, with more seriously ill babies surviving birth, and with medical advances enabling children to live longer with their complex conditions. Overall, there are more than one million disabled children in the UK, 33 per cent more than a decade ago. Yet fewer seriously ill and disabled children than ever before are currently getting the support they need.

The Panorama programme highlights the consequences of the shortfall in services, showing the day to day life of families at their wits end, having to go to court to fight for vital support, and dealing with a system that has limited and dwindling resources. The DCP are urgently calling on the government to plug the £1.5 billion gap – just 0.2 per cent of total government spending – to ensure disabled children and their families have a decent quality of life.

Anne Harris, Rainbow Trust Director of Care, said:

‘The DCP’s research shows there is a huge funding gap in children’s services for seriously ill and disabled children. This means tens of thousands are missing out on vital help that enables them to do things other children take for granted like eating, talking, leaving the house, having fun and attending school when they are able.

We know from the families that we support that all too often it is parents who take the strain, providing round the clock care without a break, to the detriment of their own health and wellbeing as well as that of their child. That’s why we back the call for the government to plug this spending gap as a matter of urgency.’

The DCP’s research, carried out by Development Economics, found that there is a £1.1 billion shortfall in funding for health services for disabled children and £433 million extra needed for social care. The research is available here. The Panorama programme is available to watch here.