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RCN backs campaign for statutory funding of children’s palliative care services

The Rainbow Trust Children's Charity is seeking more funding from the government for its support work with terminally ill children and their families.
Rainbow Trust

The government must ensure charities are adequately funded to provide vital support during childrens palliative care, says the RCN.

The college is backing a Rainbow Trust Childrens Charity campaign to ensure there is statutory funding support for social care for seriously ill children and their families.

The charity helps children who are diagnosed with a life-threatening or terminal illness and their families in England, by assigning them a dedicated support worker.

3% statutory funding

But it only receives 3% of its funding from statutory sources and must raise the rest through voluntary donations.

The varied support the charity provides includes:

  • Transport to and from hospital and for school runs and family outings.
  • Meeting with families.
  • Helping with housework and playing with a child

The government must ensure charities are adequately funded to provide vital support during children’s palliative care, says the RCN. 


The Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity receives only 3% of its funding through statutory sources

The college is backing a Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity campaign to ensure there is statutory funding support for social care for seriously ill children and their families. 

The charity helps children who are diagnosed with a life-threatening or terminal illness and their families in England, by assigning them a dedicated support worker. 

3% statutory funding

But it only receives 3% of its funding from statutory sources and must raise the rest through voluntary donations. 

The varied support the charity provides includes: 

  • Transport to and from hospital and for school runs and family outings.
  • Meeting with families.
  • Helping with housework and playing with a child and siblings.
  • Discussing end of life care and providing bereavement support.

RCN professional lead for children and young people’s nursing Fiona Smith, said:

‘Nursing staff do all they can to care for children and their parents during these difficult times, but in the current healthcare climate there’s only so much they can do.

‘The kind of support Rainbow Trust provides is invaluable to families and saves millions of pounds.’

£2 million annually

In its Hidden Savings report, the charity said it conservatively estimates it saves the health and social care system £2 million annually. 

As an example of a direct saving, the report said some nursing time can be freed up by the charity’s support workers sitting with an ill child in hospital.

The report estimated that clinical commissioning groups can save between £11.50 to £31.50 for a half an hour of nursing staff time, depending on the nurse’s grade.

The charity wants the public to co-sign a letter which it will deliver to health minister David Mowat calling for all elements of children’s palliative care, including social care, to receive statutory funding.

The Department of Health has been approached for comment, but has not yet responded.

Further information 

Hidden Savings report


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