North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson has joined staff & volunteers from Action Cerebral Palsy for the launch of its Identify, Intervene, Impact campaign.
Action Cerebral Palsy (ACP) was formed in 2013 as a consortium of specialist centres that provide services for children with cerebral palsy and is now an independent campaigning charity, representing the whole cerebral palsy community. ACP seeks to address the issues facing children with cerebral palsy and their families, and to be the voice for this under-represented group.
Cerebral Palsy is an umbrella term for a group of motor disorders which are caused by damage to the developing brain occurring before, during or immediately after birth. This will cause difficulties primarily with the control of movement and posture, mobility and sensory processing, and may also affect communication, social, self-care and learning skills.
Medical conditions such as epilepsy may also be present, as may secondary issues relating to health and wellbeing. Each person with cerebral palsy will be unique in how the condition affects them, and in the support they will require. It is estimated that three babies in every 1,000 is born with the condition, which makes cerebral palsy the most common motor disability in childhood. There are thought to be approximately 30,000 children with cerebral palsy in the UK.
During his time as the Minister for Disabled People, Justin worked closely with organisations including Action Cerebral Palsy to ensure that the health, welfare & employment systems work for people with cerebral palsy and related conditions.
The campaign focuses on the need for early identification of, and intervention for, children and young people with cerebral palsy, as this presents the best opportunity to impact their quality of life and outcomes. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recently published guidelines outlining best practice for the assessment and management of cerebral palsy in under 25s, and areas for improvement in the care of young people with the condition.
The NICE quality standard makes a number of recommendations, including that children not sitting by eight months, using one hand more than the other before 12 months, or not walking by 18 months, should be referred to specialist services for assessment. The quality standard also states that children with significant risk factors – such as babies born before 18 weeks or with a low birth weight, should be given additional follow-up to help spot the signs of cerebral palsy earlier.
Justin is keen for NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups around the country to share best practice in order to ensure that every young person with cerebral palsy can be identified and receive the high-quality, tailored support that is available.
Justin Tomlinson MP said: “I am delighted to support Action Cerebral Palsy’s Identify, Intervene, Impact campaign. Around 30,000 people in the UK live with cerebral palsy and it is vital that we build on the positive guidelines set out by NICE to ensure every person with cerebral palsy receives the high-quality, tailored support which is available. As a Minister, I actively worked to ensure that the health, welfare & employment systems worked for people with cerebral palsy & related conditions, and I want to see more CCGs sharing best practice in this area.”