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Together for Short Lives Strategy 2018-2023

Together for the 49,000+

Together for Short Lives’ strategy sets out a bold five-year ambition for children’s palliative care across the UK. Our core focus is to achieve positive change for babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions, their families, and the services that support them.

These services include children’s hospices, palliative care charities, health and social care professionals and volunteers working in the NHS and in the community.

Together for Short Lives will achieve change by helping to:

  • build a strong and sustainable children’s palliative care sector
  • ensure that children, young people and families are better supported, connected and empowered
  • improve joined-up care and services
  • build better understanding and support for quality children’s palliative care.

Last year we asked a range of individuals and organisations: ‘What does great children’s palliative care look like?’ In answering this, we listened to the views of families, young people, health and social care professionals, those working in children’s hospices and in other charities across the UK, and those working overseas. We listened, and what we heard informed our strategy.

We heard that there are gaps in knowledge and understanding of children’s palliative care, and although the sector is blessed with brilliant and dedicated people, they need support to develop their capability, knowledge and networks, and be able to help inform and shape good practice. We heard that the number of children and young people with life-limiting conditions is growing, but the policy and funding environment is not keeping up with growing demand. We heard that influencing the debate, informing policy and campaigning for change, and funding are key requirements of a membership organisation such as Together for Short Lives. And, that families and young people increasingly need help to navigate the maze of support they are entitled to – and that they want to play a role in speaking out so that their voices are heard.

Our ambition is that this is a shared strategy. Our work in meeting these challenges will require greater collaboration across the wider children’s palliative care sector. It will require shared ownership and a collective drive to push this on to a busy public, policy and practice agenda. And it will require a commitment from us all to share and learn together, to build on what works, to break down traditional barriers so that our shared work is centred on children, young people and their families. Together for Short Lives has a key role to lead by example in this respect. We are bound by a common cause to improve the quality of life and end of life care for babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions, and for their families. This is what we are here for.

Our strategy is not a static document. We will keep it, and our priorities, under constant review. We will feed back to our members, and others, on our progress in meeting these priorities through our annual Impact report.