Number of seriously ill children soars by 50%

The Sick Kids hospital in Edinburgh Picture: Jon Savage
The Sick Kids hospital in Edinburgh Picture: Jon Savage
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The number of babies, children and young people in Scotland with life-shortening conditions has soared by 50 per cent in the last decade, a new report has found.

Experts have called for improved palliative care services for young patients, after the Children in Scotland requiring Palliative Care report (ChiSP) revealed today that there were 6,661 under-25s with a life-shortening condition in 2013/14, compared with just 4,334 ten years before.

The highest prevalence is among children under the age of one, according to the report funded by Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS).

The large increase is believed to be due to medical advances which are allowing many children to live longer than expected.

Dr Pat Carragher, CHAS Medical Director, said: “Scotland is recognised as providing world-leading palliative care and this report gives us much-needed evidence on the numbers of babies, children and young people in Scotland who need to access that support.

“We know the difference palliative care can make to families who are facing the most challenging of times, but clearly not every family is accessing this care.”

Health Secretary Shona Robison welcomed the report and pledged to use the findings to inform the Scottish Government’s new palliative care strategy.