Commissioning children’s palliative care

Commissioning children’s palliative care in England: 2017 edition | Together for Short Lives 

This report summarises responses to a Freedom of Information request sent to every CCG and upper-tier local authority in England, asking how they plan care and support for children who need palliative care and their families, and which services they commission for them.

The report found that:

  • Children’s palliative care commissioning in England is patchy and inconsistent
  • The government’s end of life care choice commitment is not being fulfilled in almost half of local areas in England
  • Most CCGs have not implemented the new clinical guidance for children who need palliative care
  • Even though many seriously ill children need care 24 hours a day, seven days a week, commissioners are failing to plan and fund this support
  • Many local authorities are failing to commission short breaks for children who  need palliative care, despite being legally obliged to do so
  • There is a postcode lottery of bereavement care across England for parents whose child has died
  • CCGs and local authorities are failing to fund voluntary sector children’s palliative care organisations – including children’s hospices
  • Too many areas still do not commission age and developmentally appropriate services for young people with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions
  • Despite significant challenges across England, there are still some examples of commissioners reporting a broad range of children’s palliative care commissioning.

The report proposes a number of recommendations in response to these findings.

Full report:  Commissioning children’s palliative care in EnglandTogether for Short Lives’ report on children’s palliative care services commissioned by NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and local authorities in England.

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Community based end of life care commissioning

Public Health England has published Public perceptions and experiences of community-based end of life care initiatives: a qualitative research report.

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This report is aimed at commissioners of end of life care services to support new ways of commissioning through using public health approaches to build compassionate communities. The key objectives of the research were to understand the awareness and knowledge of community end of life care across a number of key audiences; their perceptions of community end of life care; their experiences of end of life care and any community initiatives; and any improvements that could be made to community end of life care.

Innovative approaches to end-of-life care

A range of presentations from a recent conference, which gave an overview of NHS England’s national programme for end-of-life care, and explored innovative approaches to palliative and end-of-life care. Lessons from good practice were shared, along with case studies in palliative care and local end-of-life care commissioning and delivery.

 

Local health and care plans for dying people

Hospice UK has published A low priority? How local health and care plans overlook the needs of dying people.  This report examines the strategic priority given to people with palliative and end of life care needs by local statutory structures in England.  Freedom of Information requests were sent to all Health and Wellbeing Boards and CCGs in England.  The findings show a significant inconsistency in the consideration of adults and children with palliative care needs in health and care planning.

Additional links: Hospice UK press release

End of life care commissioning toolkit

05 April 2016 – NHS England

Providing high quality end of life care that is truly centred around the needs of the individual and their loved ones is an important outcome to aim for.  Given the complexity of ensuring all the patient’s needs are met, wherever possible, requires all the agencies to work together.

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Image source: NHSIQ

The ‘Ambitions for Palliative and End of Life Care: A national framework for local action 2015-2020’, stresses how we must all work together to find new ways of delivering better care to make a difference.  The role of commissioners in collaborative working continues to be fundamental in making progress in end of life care.

The toolkit is aimed at being a useful resource which is complimentary to the overall national strategic direction, whilst aiming  to support commissioners ‘commission high quality end of life care’ and to be complimentary to their local Sustainable Transformation Plans.

View the full toolkit here

View the full commentary here