England’s health and wellbeing boards may be ill-prepared for meeting the needs of disabled children, campaigners have warned.
Local health and wellbeing boards are being urged to sign up to a disabled children's charter. Image: Luke Tchalenko
Research carried out by Every Disabled Child Matters (EDCM) and The Children’s Trust Tadworth found that 41 per cent of shadow health and wellbeing boards had not put in place a joint strategic needs assessment that referred to the needs of disabled children.
They also found a lack of consistency in the data being collected in local areas about the health needs of disabled children and a lack of clarity on how joint strategic needs assessment fitted in with other local planning processes and strategies.
Dalton Long, chief executive of The Children’s Trust Tadworth, said the gaps identified in the research were a “cause for concern”.
In response, the two organisations have launched a Disabled Children’s Charter for health and wellbeing boards that sets out help for the boards to ensure they are meeting the government’s ambitions for the new health system.
“Disabled children and young people represent a crucial test for the new health system,” said Christine Lenehan, an EDCM board member.
“By signing the charter and delivering on its commitments, health and wellbeing boards can be confident that they are meeting their responsibilities towards disabled children and young people.”
The charter asks health and wellbeing boards to provide evidence, within a year, that they have collected detailed and accurate information about disabled children in their area.
It also asks them to involve disabled children in their work, improve integration with other services and develop “clear strategic outcomes” on child disability.