We are supporting the new campaign calling for the 130,000 UK adults living with cerebral palsy to stop being treated like ‘second class citizens’ due to inequality in healthcare provision.
Led by the charity Adult CP Hub, the Stamp Out the Gap campaign will run throughout March – Cerebral Palsy Awareness month – and aims to raise awareness of the need for care parity for adults with CP.
Six personalities – all of whom have CP – are supporting the campaign, including comedians Rosie Jones and ‘Lost Voice Guy’ Lee Ridley. Their faces feature on a specially designed set of mock ‘Second Class Stamps’, which highlight the need to stamp out the gap in healthcare provision.
Emma Livingstone, co-founder of Adult Cerebral Palsy Hub, explains:
“Adults with CP are treated like second class citizens when it comes to healthcare. We do not get joined-up healthcare like other adults with life-long conditions and there are no clear care pathways. At the age of 18, we are basically just told to ‘get on with it’. NICE guidelines have been developed recommending this is changed to provide joined-up healthcare with dedicated CP specialists, which is what happens for other long-term conditions. However, the guidelines have yet to be adopted across the NHS. Our campaign aims to ‘stamp out’ this gap.”
Although NICE guidelines have been developed for England, Wales and, effectively, Northern Ireland, the government has yet to adopt them across the NHS. In Scotland, no SIGN guidelines (equivalent to the NICE guidelines) even exist for adults with CP – an even further inequality in care parity.
Cerebral Palsy Scotland previously inputted into and supported the development of the NICE guidelines. Chief Executive of Cerebral Palsy Scotland, Baroness Stephanie Fraser of Craigmaddie, said:
“The answers to closing this gap already exist. There is absolutely no reason not to adopt the NICE guidelines and there is also no reason not to adapt those to SIGN guidelines for Scotland and adopt them.”
The campaign has launched an online petition calling for Care Parity for CP, asking for:
- specialist services for adults with CP,
- adoption of the NICE guidelines and quality standards universally across all the NHS services.
Emma Livingstone of Adult CP Hub commented on the huge impact these changes could make for people with CP and the UK as a whole:
“This change will deliver a huge impact for adults living with CP and for the NHS and the economy. We believe an investment of £20mn into joined up healthcare for adults with CP could give £422mn back to the economy in gross employment benefits. At a time when the healthcare system and economy is under unprecedented pressure, this actually offers a way to save money.”
By World Cerebral Palsy Day on 6th October, the charity hopes to have 100,000 signatures so the issue can be discussed in Parliament.
How you can support the Stamp Out the Gap campaign:
Sign the online petition
Make some NOISE and raise awareness on social media! – We want the government to hear about this. Let your friends know about the lack of care parity for adults with cerebral palsy. Ask them to sign the online petition and share your own experiences of the gap in healthcare provision for adults using the hashtag #StampOutTheGap
The mock stamps for the campaign were designed by orthoptist and illustrator Eve Lacey, who herself has cerebral palsy. The six personalities featured are: comedian Rosie Jones, comedian Francesca Martinez, actor James Moore, Britain’s Got Talent winner ‘Lost Voice Guy’ Lee Ridley, Paralympian David Smith MBE and para-Dressage rider Tegan Vincent-Cooke.
Adding her voice to the campaign, Rosie Jones, said: “I’m shocked and concerned at the gap in healthcare for people CP versus other life-long conditions. It is discrimination versus other conditions, and we must change this.”
Paralympian David Smith MBE added: “Providing joined-up healthcare means a chance for people to live healthier, happier lives, with less strain on the NHS and more opportunity to stay in employment. It doesn’t make sense to not adopt the NICE guidelines.”
You can find out more about the campaign at Adult CP Hub.