The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Children Who Need Palliative Care relaunched today (18 July) at the House of Commons. Excitingly, the group is now being led by two new co-chairs – Labour MP Catherine McKinnell and Conservative MP Dr Caroline Johnson.
The APPG seeks to educate, inform and motivate Parliamentarians to take action to help transform the lives of the 49,000 children and young people across the UK with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions. It was launched in February 2017 by founding chair Stuart Andrew, Conservative MP for Pudsey. Stuart has now stood down as chair following his appointment as Assistant Government Whip. To replace him, APPG members have elected Catherine and Caroline as co-chairs to lead the group in the new Parliament.
During the inaugural meeting, the APPG agreed to conduct an inquiry into the way in which the government is implementing its end of life care choice commitment to children and young people, which Ministers published in July 2016.
Sarah Champion MP (Labour, Rotherham), Neil Gray MP (SNP, Airdrie and Shotts) and Jim Shannon MP (DUP, Strangford) were re-elected as vice-chairs of the group. Together for Short Lives, the UK’s children’s palliative care charity, is delighted to continue to act as the secretariat to the group.
Co-Chair Catherine McKinnell, Labour MP for Newcastle upon Tyne North, said:
‘I am delighted to be co-chairing the APPG at this crucial time for babies, children and young people with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions, their families and all those who care for them. These vulnerable children face some of the biggest challenges in our society; Parliamentarians have an important job to do in making sure that Government departments and agencies like NHS England all work together to make sure that they receive the right care and support so that they have the best quality of life, and of death, as possible.’
Co-Chair Dr Caroline Johnson, Conservative MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham, said:
‘Catherine, I and the rest of the APPG look forward to examining how the government is to bring about the best outcomes possible for children with life-limiting conditions and their families. There are some exciting opportunities to do this if important policies, like the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) guideline on end of life care for infants, children and young people with life-limiting conditions and the government’s end of life care choice commitment for children, are realised.’
More information about the APPG, including a list of its members, can be accessed online from www.togetherforshortlives.org.uk/appg