More specialist equipment needed for disabled children, says Newlife

The Scottish Government must invest more in providing specialist beds to disabled children, according to a charity that helps supply mobility equipment.

Newlife has invested around £350,000 in providing specialist beds for children in Scotland but says that there are still terminally-ill and disabled children still without important equipment.

The type of beds Newlife wants brought in can cost from £1,500 up to £10,000 but they are vital to stop children who are pump-fed from choking, for example.

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Newlife has already spent in excess of £1m providing specialist equipment to children in Scotland and a spokesperson told a local newspaper that health bosses in the country often treat children as “mini-adults”, providing adult-sized hospital beds.

“These policies totally fail to understand the very distinct needs of kids who often lack understanding around danger and safety. It should never be acceptable for a disabled child to have to sleep on the floor, or for a parent to go to bed at night terrified that when they wake up, their child might have died,” the spokesperson told the Scotsman.

“Newlife believes that all children in the UK, regardless of their disability, should be able to sleep comfortably and safely.”

The Scottish Government is set to review its guidance on the provision of children’s equipment with a view to issuing an update later this year, a spokesperson said.

“The provision of equipment for children and young people is an essential part of the therapeutic management of their disabilities and is effective both in terms of improving quality of life and potentially reducing the need for more intensive intervention and care.

“All health boards and local authorities have a statutory responsibility to provide equipment that meets the needs of disabled children and young people in the community and to work in partnership with relevant bodies to ensure the best possible care for those with complex needs.”

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