Government must double hospices cash, says charity

Help the Hospices has challenged the Labour government to deliver its 2005 election manifesto promise to double investment in palliative care.

The charity said that the investment is needed because 28% of hospices are in debt and most are struggling to cope with reduced statutory funding. This is despite hospices providing core palliative care services the NHS would otherwise have to provide.

At the 2005 election, Labour promised to double investment in palliative care to provide more choice for people to be treated at home.

However, Help the Hospices, which supports several charities that provide palliative care, said government funding as a proportion of adult hospice spending had dropped from an average of 34% to 32% between 2004-6.

It said hospices provided almost 80% of adult in-patient palliative care beds in the UK, as well as a range of day care, home care and bereavement support services.

Help the Hospices chief executive David Praill said: “We are not asking for 100% funding, but we need the government to cover the cost of services that the NHS would otherwise have to provide.”

Related information

£40m health department fillip for hospice improvements

Palliative care is ‘Cinderella’ service, Department of Health-commissioned review finds

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