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Damien Moore MP calls on NHS England to meet its children’s hospice funding promise

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Damien Moore has shown his support for Claire House by dropping into a Westminster event to celebrate Children’s Hospice Week on Tuesday 18 June. Damien also joined children’s palliative care charity Together for Short Lives’ call on NHS England to keep its promise to protect the Children’s Hospice Grant – and go further by increasing it to £25million per year.

A new report published on 20 June by Together for Short Lives has found, across England:

  • In the two years between 2016/17 and 2018/19, the funding each children’s hospice charity received from local NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) reduced on average by more than £7,000 – a 2% cut from £371,303 to £364,076.
  • In the last year, between 2017/18 and 2018/19, nearly three quarters (74%) of children’s hospice charities experienced a real-terms cut (a cut, freeze or increase below 1.8%) in the money they received from CCGs. Over half (56%) of children’s hospice charities experienced cuts or freezes in CCG funding in cash terms.
  • Funding is also very patchy and varies widely across local areas: 15% of children’s hospice charities receive nothing at all from their CCGs.
  • The money that each children’s hospice has to spend each year to meet the needs of seriously ill children and their families has grown to an average of £3,681,442 – a 4.5% increase between 2016/17 and 2018/19, faster than the rate of inflation.
  • This combination of falling CCG funding and increasing costs is hitting our most vulnerable children and their families: a fifth (19%) of children’s hospice charities are cutting vital short breaks for respite.

Simon Stevens had announced on 27 December that, over the next five years, up to £7million additional funding would be made available to children’s hospices each year on top of the existing £11million Children’s Hospice Grant, if CCGs also provide additional match funding. However, NHS England subsequently rowed back on this promise in its Long Term Plan. This stated that the additional funding will also be available to other, non-hospice palliative care services.

Damien Moore, MP for Southport, said:

‘Children’s hospice like Claires House provide absolutely crucial support to seriously ill children and their families. The local community do so much to keep these important services open, but the longevity of these organisations – and the specialist clinical care they provide – shouldn’t have to rely on bake sales, marathons and the generosity of the public.

‘Children with life-limiting conditions don’t have time to waste. This Children’s Hospice Week I celebrated the fantastic work children’s hospices do in our community and calling for that to be reflected in fair and sustainable funding.’

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.

‘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. It is time for Simon Stevens to make good on the commitment he made at Christmas by protecting the grant and increase NHS funding for children’s hospices’

ENDS

For more information please contact Damien’s office at damien.moore.mp@parliament.uk, or contact Short Lives on 0117 989 7820