Editorial

Hospices need funding to maintain high standards

Almost every day, week and month of the year is earmarked by some charity or other as an opportunity to raise awareness about a clinical condition, patient group or worthwhile cause. During October we celebrate black history, talk about breast cancer and campaign against domestic violence, among other things. In case you missed it, October 10 was World Hospice and Palliative Care Day.

Almost every day, week and month of the year is earmarked by some charity or other as an opportunity to raise awareness about a clinical condition, patient group or worthwhile cause. During October we celebrate black history, talk about breast cancer and campaign against domestic violence, among other things. In case you missed it, October 10 was World Hospice and Palliative Care Day.

Such awareness-raising exercises are of limited value, given how crowded the calendar has become, but they do serve a purpose in that they can focus media attention on a given issue. Hospices had their moment in the headlines over the weekend because the Care Quality Commission (CQC) issued a press release highlighting the consistently high quality of care being provided by nurses and other staff in these special places.

It is a shame that hospices continue to receive precious little from the government

The findings are stark, and positive: 34 of the 37 hospices inspected recently were found to be providing good or outstanding care. CQC chief inspector of adult social care Andrea Sutcliffe said the reason hospices are doing such a great job is simple: ‘Success starts with strong leaders who motivate, value and support skilled staff to go the extra mile in sensitively caring for every single person as an individual.’

She implored managers and leaders at other care providers to read the CQC’s reports on hospices and learn how the delivery of high-quality services can be achieved. It would be good if managers in the NHS and independent sector followed this advice.

The only shame is that hospices continue to rely on charitable giving and receive precious little funding from the government. It is great that people whose loved ones have benefited from hospice care raise money through long-distance runs, swimathons and the like, but it would be even better if ministers could stump up more cash to help hospices improve services still further.

Enough already – I’m off to enjoy National Curry Week.

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