NHS Bury has been accused of being one of five primary care trusts in the country that failed to acknowledge the existence of disabled children in their catchment areas.
The allegation has been made in a report published by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), based on data from 151 primary care trusts (PCTs) and in the face of official estimates that one-in-20 under-16s has a disability.
Newlife Foundation, the UK’s leading children’s disability charity, says that despite NHS Bury’s apparent denial of numbers, in 2011 the charity funded three grants totalling £2,550 for three children in the PCT’s catchment area.
Sheila Brown, Newlife chief executive, said: “This missing information could mean they don’t meet the full needs and so children and their families will continue to struggle without appropriate equipment. That’s when parents and carers turn to charities like Newlife to help plug the gap.”
NHS Bury says that as part of the review by the CQC, trusts were asked whether the most recent Annual Public Health Report or Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) for the area estimated the population of disabled children. Although this precise information was not contained within these two specific documents for Bury, NHS Bury does have an estimate of the population of disabled children. It has a range of health and well being services in place to meet their needs and this information will be included in future editions of the JSNA.
A spokesperson for NHS Bury said: “NHS Bury is committed to ensuring that high quality services are in place to support the healthcare needs of disabled children and young people, their families and carers. Although not specifically referenced within the Public Health Annual Report or the JSNA at the time of reporting, we estimate that there are in the region of 1,800 children living with a disability in Bury.
“We ensure that a comprehensive range of high quality and responsive services are in place for children and young people with disabilities. These include occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, physiotherapy, a short breaks facility, specialist school nursing services and wheelchair services. In addition we have in place community paediatricians and children’s community nurses.
“We are pleased that the review by the Care Quality Commission highlights a number of areas where Bury is performing better than the national average.”