Statement about change to services -
Impact of Progessing Disability Service on Children with Erb's Palsy/Brachial Plexus Injury
19th August 2022
It has been brought to our attention by a number of Charity members, that there has been a change to care, in that the unrivalled high-quality Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy that is available in the Central Remedial Clinic is transitioning through the Progressing Disability Services (PDS) to local Community Disability Network Teams (CDNT).
Of note, in Progressing Disability Services' 'Guidance on Specialists Supports', in reference to brachial plexus injuries, “These conditions are relatively rare and the Children’s Disability Network Team or Primary Care services would not encounter the critical number needed to develop or maintain sufficient knowledge and experience of the condition.”
Our understanding is that children with Erb's palsy are now to be treated locally, in circumstances where there is no requirement to maintain knowledge or experience of the condition. We are concerned that children with Erb's palsy will, as a result of this change in services, stand to lose out on optimal rehabilitation and the best possible outcome; moreover, we expect children will suffer an avoidable deterioration because of a lack of knowledge and skills, none of which could be said to be the fault of an individual physiotherapist or occupational therapist. Moreover, we are aware of children are being cohorted locally with children with profoundly different and more time-consuming disabilities. This will undoubtedly give rise to issues of delay and difficulty in accessing therapies.
We have heard from physiotherapists and occupational therapists who feel they have been put in an invidious position, who are likewise concerned that these changes to services have created risks to service users of not receiving optimal or even adequate treatment and care. On a personal level, they fear exposure to complaints and litigation.
Parents of children with Erb's palsy with such concerns are invited to contact the Charity. We will take these concerns on board and relay them to the appropriate authorities, including the Minister for Health and Minister for Disabilities.