What does the General Election mean for seriously ill children?

Ahead of the General Election on 12 December, we are calling on all political parties to commit to improve support for families where a child has a life threatening or terminal illness. We believe there are two key questions to be asked of prospective parliamentary candidates:

1. What are your party’s plans to improve support for families where a child has a life threatening or terminal illness, and in particular, to improve emotional and practical support for the whole family?

2. Will your party commit to increasing funding for social care support for families where a child has a life threatening or terminal illness?

The NHS is widely considered a central concern for many voters, but healthcare is only one part of the picture when a child has a life threatening or terminal illness. Whichever party wins enough seats to form the next government, they must urgently bring in a social care settlement which addresses the needs of seriously ill children and young people and their families, as well as disabled and older adults.

Zillah Bingley, Chief Executive of Rainbow Trust, said:

‘This election period, we urge everyone who cares about seriously ill children and their families to make sure that their local candidates are asked these simple questions. Too many families are not yet able to receive the support they need to cope with the emotional and practical challenges of having a child with a life threatening or terminal illness.

Whether you encounter prospective parliamentary candidates on your doorstep, on your high street, or on your way to work, we hope that as many candidates as possible are pressed to explain exactly what their party would do to improve support for these families if elected.’

Respite services for parents and siblings are essential so that family members can have a break from caring. This can help them to feel less isolated, for instance, and to cope better with the emotional and practical demands of their situation. Just two of England’s 152 local authorities currently provide funding for Rainbow Trust’s vital emotional and practical support for families.