Children’s palliative care services are patchy, unplanned and low down the government and NHS’s priority list, stakeholders have warned.
Respondents to a Department of Health consultation on the issue, who included hospices, health trusts and social services, said a government injection of £27m to fund hospices last year was insufficient “to provide a comprehensive and sustainable service”.
The funding was in response to claims that the sector was in crisis, but the responses to the consultation show significant problems remain. Of the 31 hospices that replied, just 13 reported they were providing services in relation to a planning or commissioning process, while six said they had been successful or reasonably successful in securing statutory funding.
Respondents said the biggest gaps in children’s palliative care were in community services, the transition from children’s to adult services and reliable end-of-life care, and called for a common assessment framework, pooled budgets across agencies and better joint working, including the voluntary sector.