Children’s hospices struggling with funding crisis, report claims 

In 2009 The Chester Chronicle reported: Children’s hospice faces credit crunch crisis – Chester Chronicle. Children’s Hospice care is also covered in The Times 22nd November 2016: “Children’s hospices face crisis over funding cuts” – not on line… (Hospice UK) (Together for Short Lives). The lack of full funding for issues around death (for all of us, adults and children both) is self evident, but no politician wants to name it rationing.

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The Greenock Telegraph reports 22nd November 2016: Children’s hospices struggling with funding crisis, report claims

Children’s hospices are on the brink of a funding crisis owing to cuts and freezes in local authority and NHS spending, according to a report.

The study, from the charities Hospice UK and Together for Short Lives, found hospices are struggling due to falling state income as a proportion of their costs – which are rising by about 10% every year.

In 2015/16, 21 children’s palliative charities which provided data received an average of £43,095 in local authority funding.

But this was 61% less than they received in 2014/15, when the average was £110,909 per organisation. The current amount is only 1% of what children’s hospices need to run.

The report also found that the NHS England children’s hospice grant has remained static, at £377,106 in 2015/16 for children’s hospices compared to £356,166 in 2013/14.

The report said there is a similar picture for adult palliative care, with 65% of hospices for adults having statutory funding frozen or cut in the last financial year.

Barbara Gelb, chief executive of Together for Short Lives, said: “We urge the Government to listen to children and their families and end this crisis in children’s palliative care funding.

“The needs of this relatively small but nevertheless significant and growing number of children, with the weakest voice, are often not heard or ignored.

“Inadequate funding of children’s palliative care services – across health and social care – means we are collectively failing the most vulnerable children in society, choosing to turn away from families who need help the most.

“We believe that ministers should follow the example of the Scottish Government, which has recently committed £30 million to the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland over the next five years.

“We’re calling on the UK Government to re-examine funding arrangements as a matter of urgency and carry out a national inquiry into the state of children’s palliative care funding in England.”

Tracey Bleakley, chief executive of Hospice UK, said: “The current statutory funding situation for adult hospices is very concerning and poses a significant threat to the long-term sustainability of the sector.

“Hospices are having to deliver more year after year with standstill NHS resources, putting more pressure on community fundraising to help bridge the gap. This all comes when an ageing population is putting unprecedented demand on hospice care services

“There needs to be more investment and also fairer funding from the Government for hospice care now – to supplement the vital support provided by local communities and prevent hospices reaching crisis point.”

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “The Government strongly values the role of the hospice sector in providing excellent end of life care across the country.

“Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) determine the level of NHS-funded hospice care locally and they are responsible for ensuring that the services they commission meet the needs of their local population. NHS England is developing a per-patient funding system for palliative care to support commissioners and ensure that palliative care in all settings, including hospices, is funded fairly and transparently.”

Hospices rely on volunteers while paying their bosses up to £160,000

Dying cancer patients have no home help

Charities say letting people die at home could save millions for NHS

Traditional In-patient Hospices are not viable in small populations

Cancer care not good enough in eight out of ten regions

retired GP. Edit

Quality of dying is post-code rationed

Who will write the obituary for UK General Practice? Will you know the doctor looking after you when you die?

Advanced directives needed. Choice in death and dying. Lord Darzi warns of “draconian rationing”. GPs need to be involved at the interface of oncology and palliative care.

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This entry was posted in A Personal View, Rationing, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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