As a Solicitor who has represented a number of families where cerebral palsy has arisen from negligent treatment over the last 10 years it is very apparent that the families have to fight to obtain the very best treatment for their children and invariably they do so by making huge sacrifices in their own life and at considerable expense both in time and money. They also often have to travel considerable distance to obtain the most appropriate therapy as there is none local to them.
Information in respect of suitable therapy or services is often not readily available to them so not only do they have to undertake extensive research but then try to access to those services.
When a family pursues a successful clinical negligence claim and have the funds available to enable them to employ a case manager to assist with sourcing suitable provision, care and therapy the benefit to the child and family is immeasurable. There are however children who have cerebral palsy which is not as a result of any negligence and those families do not necessarily have the financial means to source private care, therapy and provisions for their children. In those situations the families will always be dependant on the services provided by their local authorities (LA), clinical commissioning groups (CCG) and NHS Trusts.
On 13 July 2016 Action Cerebral Palsy released their latest report; Variations in Care: An Analysis of cerebral palsy provision. The main aim of the report was to analyse services provided by CCGs. LA and NHS Trusts.
The report reached the following conclusion:
- There is a significant variation in provision of services throughout England
- There is a lack of information readily available to the families
- More support is required especially in the first 24 months of a child’s life when intervention is the most effective.
- Improvements in training and professional development are required for education and healthcare workers in respect of awareness of cerebral palsy
- There needs to be better integration between health and educational support.
In carrying out the research many organisations simply failed to provide information of their offer for children with cerebral palsy. Of the CCGs approached 91.9% failed to provide details of their pathway for children and young people with cerebral palsy and only 9% of the CCGs included details of the training and advice provided to health professionals on identifying and referring children with cerebral palsy.
For an in depth review of the report please click here.
If you or a member of your family have been affected by cerebral palsy and would like further advice in respect of a potential clinical negligence claim please contact Kerry Fifield on 0345 209 1268 or e-mail Kerry.Fifield@clarkewillmott.com or alternatively please contact our Medical Negligence team on 0800 316 8892.