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Children's hospices and palliative care charities struggling amid 'funding crisis'

A report from Together for Short Lives and Hospice UK reveals huge reductions in local authority funding.
palliative care

Funding for childrens hospices and palliative care charities in England is in crisis with seriously ill children facing a postcode lottery for their care, a new report has revealed.

Together for Short Lives and Hospice UK have released statistics which show that local authority funding has been cut dramatically; with an average reduction of 61% given to childrens palliative care charities between 2014/15 and 2015/16.

The report states there is a gulf in funding depending on where a charity is based, and shows that local authorities are only contributing 1% of the money charities need to deliver childrens palliative care.

Rising costs

The cost of delivering care and support to seriously ill children is nearly

Funding for children’s hospices and palliative care charities in England is in crisis with seriously ill children facing a postcode lottery for their care, a new report has revealed.

Palliative Care in Nursing Healthcare
Statistics for palliative care reveals struggle in funding demands. Picture: iStock

Together for Short Lives and Hospice UK have released statistics which show that local authority funding has been cut dramatically; with an average reduction of 61% given to children’s palliative care charities between 2014/15 and 2015/16.

The report states there is a ‘gulf in funding’ depending on where a charity is based, and shows that local authorities are only contributing 1% of the money charities need to deliver children’s palliative care.

Rising costs

The cost of delivering care and support to seriously ill children is nearly 10% greater in 2015/16 than it was in 2014/15, according to the report, called On the Brink.

There are currently 40,000 children and young people with life-shortening conditions in England, compared to 30,000 in 2000/01 with the highest rate of increase among those age 16-19 years.

The charities want clarity on funding and commissioning and have called on the government and NHS England to ‘urgently write’ to clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and local authorities to make clear which parts of the healthcare system in England are responsible for commissioning palliative care for children and young people.

Clarity needed

Together for Short Lives chief executive Barbara Gelb said: ‘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.’

A Local Government Association spokesperson said the report highlighted the increasing challenges facing councils in meeting the needs of all children and young people above and beyond their legal duties.

‘We would urge government to consider its findings carefully, and ensure councils have the resources they need to meet the needs of their most vulnerable residents.’

A Department of Health spokesperson said: ‘The government strongly values the role of the hospice sector in providing excellent end of life care across the country.

‘CCGs determine the level of NHS-funded hospice care locally and they are responsible for ensuring 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 palliative care in all settings, including hospices, is funded fairly and transparently.’


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