NHS England is being urged to keep its promise to protect and increase funding for children’s hospices by charity Together for Short Lives.
The charity warns funding cuts are hitting care for seriously ill children, with Acorns Children’s Hospice site in Walsall already making plans to close.
The charity is calling on NHS England to increase the Children’s Hospice Grant to £25m per year. It is concerned that extra funding in the Long Term Plan for the NHS states additional funding will also be available to other, non-hospice palliative care services.
Andy Fletcher, chief executive of Together for Short Lives said: ‘All children’s palliative care services, delivered in hospitals, children’s hospices and the community, need equitable and sustainable funding. However, children’s hospices in England are facing a dangerous cocktail of growing costs and declining, patchy NHS funding, which is putting their long-term future at risk.
‘Acorns’ proposal to close one of its children’s hospices could be just the tip of the iceberg. It is simply not sustainable to expect specialist children’s palliative care services provided by children’s hospices to be funded by charity reserves and the generosity of the public.
A survey by Together for Short Lives found funding for each children’s hospice charity from local NHS clinical commissioning groups fell by 2% between 2016/17 and 2018/19.
It also found funding caries widely across local areas, with 15% of children’s hospice charities receiving nothing from their CCGs.