Plea for action on hospice cash crisis

Children’s palliative care chiefs have called for funding reforms to tackle the financial crisis in the sector, which is worsening as lottery funding comes to an end.

Children’s hospices receive only about 5 per cent of their funding from statutory agencies, but in 2003 were awarded three-year grants worth £5.8m a year from the former New Opportunities Fund.

However, this ends this year, which was a factor in the closure of four beds at each of Acorns Children’s Hospice Trust’s three 10- bed units in the West Midlands.

A delegation from the Association of Children’s Hospices was due to meet prime minister Tony Blair yesterday (Wednesday) to push for funding reforms.

Peter Ellis, chair of the association and chief executive of Richard House Children’s Hospice in London, called for a straight split in funding responsibilities: statutory agencies would pay for clinical services and hospices support services.

He pointed out that children who were not receiving clinical care in hospices would probably be in hospital or cared for by community nurses, which would be funded by statutory agencies.


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