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Haven House patron Iain Duncan Smith warns that children and adult hospices need to collaborate better

PUBLISHED: 11:34 24 May 2017 | UPDATED: 11:34 24 May 2017

Iain Duncan Smith visited Haven House to raise awareness about young people falling through gaps in society Picture: Haven House

Iain Duncan Smith visited Haven House to raise awareness about young people falling through gaps in society Picture: Haven House

Archant

Children and adult hospices need to work closer together to avoid young people "falling through the gaps", a patron of Haven House has warned.

Iain Duncan Smith, who has been Woodford Green MP since 1992 and is standing as the Conservative candidate in June’s election, was speaking as part of Children’s Hospice Week, from Monday to Friday.

Mr Duncan Smith said: “We must ensure that young people who reach the milestone of adulthood continue to receive the very best care which is appropriate to their age and needs.

“Too many young people and their families find the transition from children to adult services difficult and fear they will fall through the gaps and be left without support.”

The former Conservative leader said he knew from families supported by Haven House Children’s Hospice, in High Road, Woodford Green, that this was a real concern.

The charity has stated that a lack of joined up care between children’s and adult health services means that all too often, young people with a life-limiting condition find themselves falling through the gaps.

Sarah Craigie, from Dagenham, uses Haven House for her daughter, Georgia, who turned 18 in February.

Georgia has an undiagnosed condition which confines her to a wheelchair. She has severe epilepsy, curvature of the spine and progressive cerebellar hypoplasia, meaning her brain is deteriorating.

Georgia is often seriously ill and unlikely to live into adulthood, but Sarah is optimistic and hopes she can reach her 19th birthday and beyond.

Sarah said: “There have been many times when we were told that Georgia would be unlikely to survive, but she is a fighter and still here smiling 18 years later.

“I know Georgia loves the time she spends there and is benefitting from music therapy and physiotherapy. The nurses know her so well and it also gives me that break to enable me to carry on giving Georgia the best life possible.

“In an adult hospice the environment is so different that I worry about what it would be like when Georgia turns 19 next year.”

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