Parents of disabled children in Yorkshire and the Humber believe health and social care services are at breaking point, with confidence at an all-time low.
That is the shocking conclusion of a survey commissioned by the Disabled Children’s Partnership (DCP), a coalition of more than 50 charities, which also found that nearly three-quarters of parents of disabled children have experienced mental health issues as a result of continued strain, far higher than the 1 in 6 who report an issue in the general population.
At the root of the issue is the overwhelming lack of health and social care support families receive, with two-thirds worrying daily about being able to meet their disabled child’s needs and 4 in 5 parents having issues accessing vital care services.
DCP has launched a new campaign, the Secret Life of Us, to highlight the day-to-day lives of disabled children, young people and their families and, crucially, the daily struggles they face to live the sort of life that most people take for granted.
Chair of DCP, Amanda Batten, said the gap in health and social care services in England meant that families face enormous difficulties in accessing even the most basic support. “There simply isn’t awareness of the challenges faced by disabled children, young people and their families.
“This is even when completing what many would consider to be the simplest of tasks, with three in four of those surveyed naming shopping as the most challenging task in their day, closely followed by using public transport.”
In terms of accessing services, 91% of those surveyed believe it has a negative impact on their child’s health and wellbeing, their development (47%), and their ability to make friends (54%).
In addition a massive 89% of parents believe the needs of their disabled child wouldn’t be met if they could no longer care for them. Only 8% of families in the region believe that the health and social care services in their area adequately meet the needs of their disabled child.
The DCP survey showed that that is compounded by a feeling among parents who took part that the general public simply does not understand the challenges families face when caring for disabled children.
Amanda Batten added: “With 43% of people in the UK not knowing someone with a disability, we believe that with increased awareness and public support, a real difference can be made to the lives of disabled children, young people and their families.”