Natasha Pedersen, CEO and Founder, Ja til lindrende enhet og omsorg for barn (‘Yes to palliative units and care for children’), Norway
‘Yes to palliative units and care for children’, a non-profit organisation in Norway, has done important advocacy work to promote children’s palliative care during the past four years. And finally the hard work seems to have made a huge difference. In 2009, the term ‘palliative care for children’ had not been on anyone’s agenda in Norway. It wasn’t even thought of. It was an unspoken theme and no one seemed to understand anything about it. However, a combination of strategic planning, lobbying political parties and spreading information about children’s palliative care, to both the health system and the public, has finally succeeded in getting children’s palliative care on the political agenda.
A new government
King Harald V of Norway appointed Erna Solberg’s government on 16 October 2013. The new government represents the Conservative Party and the Progress Party. The new government has made a political platform for the next four years called the ‘Sundvolden-plattformen’. In their 75-page statement there is one sentence that states the need for education and increased knowledge about children’s palliative care and hospice care! The national guidelines on children’s palliative care are in progress and will be finished next year. But there is a lot more to be done. Education and strategic planning for what, how and when, still needs to be on the agenda, both politically and financially.
Bent Høie (Conservative) was appointed as the Minister of Health and Care Services. Many of our colleagues from ICPCN (International Children’s Palliative Care Network) and the UK’s Together for Short Lives met him when ‘Yes to palliative units and care for children’ held their first conference on children’s palliative care in Norway in 2012. He was the one who opened this conference where more than 200 healthcare professionals attended. The new Minister of Health, together with many other new ministers, has shown a huge interest in children’s palliative care.
A new beginning
‘Yes to palliative units and care for children’ will have an important and central role for the future of children’s palliative care in Norway, to ensure professionalism, quality and service and that children and their families receive the best care they deserve, delivered by trained health professionals.
It has been a hard journey, but now the real work begins and we need all the help we can get to ensure the future of children’s palliative care in Norway.
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