A CHARITY is calling on the Government to not forget more than 12,000 “missing” disabled children in Yorkshire.
Newlife, which provides equipment for disabled youngsters, says research commissioned by the Department of Work and Pensions, shows there are more disabled children in the UK than ever before, despite the government using five-year-old figures that have “forgotten” to include 300,000 children.
In Yorkshire alone, the charity says there are now 92,197 disabled children - just over 12,000 more than in the previous year.
Newlife chief executive, Sheila Brown, OBE said: “How can Clinical Commissioning Groups, Local Authorities and Local Education Authorities adequately plan, budget and provide the services disabled children need if they’re using figures that are more than five years out of date? Every disabled child deserves to be counted and have services in place that meet their needs.
“There are more disabled children than ever before - Yorkshire alone has seen an increase of 12,000 children in the last 12 months alone – although the actual numbers that appeal on local disability registers is much less – only showing around 10 per cent of the true number.
“It’s time statutory services stepped up and addressed the fact that thousands of disabled children are relying on charity’s like Newlife for essential equipment and support, yet the law is clear in protecting these children’s rights.”
A Government spokesperson said the charity’s claim was “misleading” and based on outdated figures it no longer uses.
He added: “Decisions by local authorities and clinical commissioning groups are not based on national estimates. Services for disabled children are commissioned based on local knowledge.”
Oscar Sutton, from Crowle in North Lincolnshire, was only discharged from Sheffield Children’s Hospital because Newlife stepped in to provide a high-sided padded bed and specialist buggy through its Emergency Equipment Loan service.
The four-year-old had been rushed to hospital in February while experiencing a seizure which lasted almost two hours. Doctors discovered this was triggered by his brain swelling, which caused damage.
His mother Emma said: “We have applied to our local NHS services for both a bed and buggy for Oscar, but this can take a long time. Without Newlife we would still be in hospital now.”
The charity will shortly launch an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) to look at the issues effecting equipment provision for disabled children in the UK.