Editorial

Keep the pressure on commissioners to fund children’s care

As demand for children’s care services rises, funding is being cut.

The inability of the most vulnerable people to get the care they deserve, whether at the beginning, middle or end of their lives, is a sad reflection on the society’s priorities. This is why the news that children’s hospices are facing a funding crisis is a cause for huge concern.

Together for Short Lives and Hospice UK have warned that funding for children’s hospice and palliative services has been cut dramatically, and that families face a ‘postcode lottery’ of care.

The Department of Health in England says it is committed to NHS-funded hospice care, but that it is up to clinical commissioning groups to determine what hospice care is provided in their areas. In turn, local authorities are struggling with cuts to their funding from central government. 

The effects of these cuts can be seen in many areas, not least in hospice funding and health visiting. 

Huge deficits

It has been well publicised that the NHS is facing huge financial pressures at the busiest time of the year, with many trusts operating at huge deficits. 

These are vital services that need investment too, but the children’s charities are right to raise their case with central and local government, and commissioners, and to keep the pressure on. 

Another charity, WellChild, has accused the government of failing to recognise and address a growing crisis among seriously ill children and their families. 

WellChild’s work funding specialist nurse posts and running its #notanurse campaign enables children to be cared for at home so they need not face lengthy and prolonged stays in hospital.

All of these services have come too far to be lost and, with an estimated 40,000 children and young people having life-shortening conditions in England, demand can only grow.

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