New ministers urged to respond to the needs of families of seriously ill children

The recent reshuffle of government ministers saw new appointments to two roles of significance for seriously ill children and their families.

Helen Whately, MP for Faversham and Mid Kent, has been appointed as Minister of State for Care, replacing Caroline Dinenage MP. Vicky Ford, MP for Chelmsford – where Rainbow Trust is currently supporting six families - has been appointed Children and Families Minister, replacing Kemi Badenoch MP.

Adult social care is set to dominate Helen Whately’s in-tray, with action on the issue having been promised by Prime Minister Boris Johnson during the 2019 General Election. However, Rainbow Trust has written to the new minister to highlight the importance of also addressing the social care needs of families where a child has a life-threatening or terminal condition, alongside the needs of older adults which are more regularly in the news.

Vicky Ford’s role, within the Department for Education, will lead on children’s social care and the government’s review of special educational needs and disability (SEND).

Rainbow Trust Chief Executive, Zillah Bingley, said:

"We welcome Ms Whately and Ms Ford to their posts, and we hope that they will quickly get to grips with the needs of families supported by Rainbow Trust.
It’s a critical time for seriously ill children and their families, with the Chancellor due to set out new spending plans for health and social care in next month’s Budget. It has been calculated that there is a £434 million gap in social care spending for disabled and seriously ill children and their families, which urgently needs to be filled.
Rainbow Trust has seen a 20 percent rise in families seeking our support over the last two years, but we receive no funding from central government or the NHS, and just 1.2 percent of our income comes from Local Authorities. If more equitable and sustainable funding were put in place, many more families, in more parts of the UK, could receive Rainbow Trust’s emotional and practical support which enables families to cope far better at the most difficult of times."