Election 2017: Time to address chronic lack of NHS resources for children and young people

Posted on the 8th June 2017

On Election Day 2017 and following our call for party leaders to prioritise health and social care for the growing population of children and young people with serious and exceptional health needs, new research reveals further and alarming evidence of an under-resourced NHS struggling to meet the needs of children and young people.

According to a recent Freedom of Information request, 46,211 children’s operations have been cancelled since 2013. The most common reasons including unavailability of staff, surgeons and equipment, lack of theatre time and over-booked lists.

Following the revelation, we reached out to our WellChild Family Tree Network to understand their experiences. Sadly, the response was quick and enlightening.

Logan waited 15 months for bilateral hip reconstruction due to shortage of PICU beds and surgeons. The impact was horrendous, resulting in a long course of opioid pain relief and a year+ off school!

Liz, from Somerset

Joanne in Birmingham’s son waited 18 months for spinal fusion surgery because lack of theatre slots and ICU beds. “I had a real fight to get him the surgery he needed.” she said.

Meanwhile, Jilly in Leicester told us about her daughter’s four month wait for an urgent bronchoscopy after two severe episodes of haemoptysis, when she ended up in resus each time. “There wasn’t a theatre available to carry out the procedure.” she said.

This cannot continue. WellChild is asking whichever party wins today’s election to immediately and urgently address the lack of resources that has led to the cancellation of more than 46,000 operations for children and young people in the past four years.

We also ask the Government of tomorrow to urgently address the three key areas outlined in our recent pre-election statement including the chronic lack of resources for, and focus on, health and social care for our country’s seriously ill children, young people and their families.

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