Impact of austerity on families with disabled children across Europe

The General Management Committee of the EACD asked Dr Karen Horridge in the UK to lead an international working group to consider this, in light of anecdotal concerns about the impact of changes following the financial crisis of 2008 and since, including cuts to public services in some countries.The work was carried out in partnership with the University of Sunderland, UK.

The work found that austerity measures have indeed impacted both directly and indirectly on families with disabled children across Europe in those countries where such measures have been implemented.

Professionals reported worse working conditions, less time to see each patient, changes to referral criteria to limit referrals and longer waiting times.

Families (731 from 23 countries) reported worsening quality of services overall in the last three years (40%) across all European countries, with only 6% reporting services had improved in quality.

Access to therapists, support in education, social care and welfare support were all reported by many families to be more difficult in countries where austerity measures were in place, the more so in countries where austerity measures were in place.

Families and professionals reported that health, education support and social care support needs were less well met overall over the last ten years in countries with austerity measures, whilst those from countries without austerity cuts reported overall improvement in how well needs have been met.

An abstract summary of the findings can be found here: http://adc.bmj.com/content/103/Suppl_1/A1.1

The UK Channel 4 News ran a story on the day that the findings were presented at the opening plenary session of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health Annual Scientific Meeting in Glasgow on 13 March 2018, which can be found here: https://www.channel4.com/news/families-concerned-about-disability-services-for-young

Presentation by Dr Karen Horridge for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health is below

Dr Karen Horridge
Consultant Paediatrician (Disability)
Sunderland Royal Hospital