The Care Quality Commission report criticises doctors and hospitals for leaving people with vulnerabilities confused and stressed.
The NHS’s watchdog has warned that the NHS is failing people with disabilities and young people as they’re being deprived of vital services, such as pain relief, when they become adults, reports the Guardian.
The reports says that doctors and hospitals are leaving young people with vulnerabilities confused and stressed when they start being cared for as adults by different health professionals.
The CQC has said that too many under-18s in England with complex and challenging health needs end up losing access to key services which they have relied on since childhood as they undergo what can be a very difficult “transition” to being treated as adults. This includes young people who sometimes have profound physical disabilities, chronic conditions such a diabetes and life-threatening illnesses such as cystic fibrosis.
Prof Steve Field, the CQC’s chief inspector of primary medical services and integrated care, said: “This report describes a health and social-care system that is not working, that is letting down desperately ill youngsters at a critical time in their lives. We have put the interests of a system that is no longer fit for purpose above the interests of the people it is supposed to serve. In an age where people can receive organ transplants, keyhole surgeries and targeted cancer treatments, it’s really disappointing that the basic care needs of many young people with physical disabilities and other long-term health needs are not being met.”
The CQC’s review of care for such young people before, during and after the switch to adult services found a host of problems. They included that “Some children‘s health or therapy services stopped at 16 but there was no adult service available until they were 18. This resulted in essential care being effectively withdrawn,” the report says.
One parent summed up their child’s transfer to adult medical services by saying: “From the pond, you are picked up and put in the sea.”
Anna Bird, head of policy and research at Scope, the disability charity, said: “Many young disabled people find that their quality of life can ‘nose-dive’ when they move from childhood services into the adult world. They struggle to get their health needs met but also to find work, to continue their education and to find a suitable place to live.”
Prof Gillian Leng, the deputy chief executive of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), said that “for many young people on the cusp of adulthood, moving between health and social-care services can be a tumultuous and stressful time. A poor transition between child and adult services can have a profound and long-lasting negative impact on a person’s life. The last thing we want is for young people to fall between the gap in child and adult services and not get the support or care they need.”
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