First Ever All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cerebral Palsy

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Speakers at a press conference

All Party Parliamentary Group on Cerebral Palsy

Action Cerebral Palsy is very proud to have been the inaugural sponsor of the first ever All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Cerebral Palsy. The APPG, which is chaired by Mary Foy MP and Paul Maynard MP, was set up to be a forum for Parliamentarians to better understand the challenges faced by individuals of all ages with cerebral palsy and their families.

The first two sessions focused on Early Identification, Intervention and Pathways of Care and the third and fourth sessions looked at Education, Health and Care Plans and Teaching and Learning for children with cerebral palsy.

1. APPG on Cerebral Palsy Report, March 2021

Early identification, intervention and pathways of care of infants and young children with cerebral palsy: The case for reform and investment

Parents, clinicians and voluntary sector experts provided compelling evidence about the vital importance of early identification and intervention for infants with or at risk of cerebral palsy and also about the current gaps in joined up care pathways experience by many families. These families require more support as they navigate the diagnostic, referral, and care process, to empower them to access the best care for their child at what is a deeply distressing time for parents. Specific recommendations for reform include:

  • The Government should work in partnership with NHS England and devolved health bodies to develop a high-quality, standardised national surveillance programme for preterm babies and infants who are at high-risk of diagnosis of cerebral palsy. This should incorporate assessment items and investigations that are known to be highly predictive of neurodevelopmental outcomes, such as MRI brain scans, Prechtl’s General Movements Assessments, and neurological examination.
  • The Government must fund and ringfence streamlined pathways of care for children at risk of neurodisability. This should lead to the establishment of properly mapped out, costed, and funded national care pathways, between primary care and secondary and tertiary multidisciplinary centres of excellence, which should put the needs of children and their families at the heart of all decision making.
  • All health authorities should be required to implement the NICE Guidelines and Quality Standards as a minimum standard, and practitioners and clinicians at a local level must be fully aware of their responsibility for prompt referral to expert multi-disciplinary teams. All care pathways should include agreed and audited quality standards.

2. APPG on Cerebral Palsy Report, October 2021

Best practice in Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs), Teaching, and Learning for Children with Cerebral Palsy

Drawing on the testimony of experts, parents and those with lived experience of cerebral palsy, the APPG’s report finds that there are gaps in the existing EHCP process and service provision that are letting children with cerebral palsy and their families down.

To remedy this, and to end the postcode lottery of access to support, the APPG makes a series of recommendations that will revitalise the current support system and remove the barriers that children and young people with cerebral palsy and their families encounter. Specific recommendations include:

  • The Government should appoint a national Cerebral Palsy Action Champion to join the dots between its policies on addressing cerebral palsy as a lifelong condition across different departments. This Champion, akin to the role of the Youth Mental Health Ambassador, would oversee the joint working recommended by the Education Committee’s SEND Report, ensuring any outcome framework is implemented effectively and work across Whitehall and the UK for a joined-up approach.
  • The creation of a single national template and process for EHCPs to be produced by experts in cerebral palsy, with increased routes for input from families and relevant professionals.
  • As a right, every family with a child with cerebral palsy will be offered control of a personal care budget for services, equipment.

Following the publication of these reports, Action Cerebral Palsy has been involved in talks with the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and other agencies with the aim of implementing the recommendations contained in the reports which, when put into practice, will greatly enhance the quality of health and educational provision available to children with cerebral palsy across the UK.

Action Cerebral Palsy will continue to campaign vigorously for these vital improvements on behalf of the cerebral palsy community.

Further APPG sessions have been held on Health Inequalities for Adults with Cerebral Palsy and Access to work for People with Cerebral Palsy and the report of these sessions are due in 2022.

Action Cerebral Palsy continues to support the work of the APPG and is very grateful to all the Parliamentarians and stakeholders who have taken part in the sessions so far.

More about Action Cerebral Palsy: Action Cerebral Palsy began in 2013 as a consortium of specialist charities working with children with cerebral palsy and their families and became a registered national charity in 2016. Our staff and trustees have first-hand experience working and living with cerebral palsy. Action Cerebral Palsy’s objective is to ensure that all children with cerebral palsy wherever they live in the UK have the best possible start to life and ongoing help and support.