NHS England has announced a pledge to raise funding for children’s hospices to as much as £25 million a year.
NHS England’s hospice grant programme currently provides £12 million a year for children’s hospices, helping to provide care and support to children and their families close to home in their final days.
As part of the NHS long term plan, funding will more than double, increasing by an additional £13 million going to children’s hospices in 2023/24.
Hospices provide care for people from the point their illness is diagnosed as terminal, until the end of their life. Hospice care does not necessarily need to be continuous and patients can take a break if their condition has become stable and are feeling well enough.
They can also offer respite care where the child’s family or carers can have a break for a short while.
Tracey Bleakley, CEO of Hospice UK said that she is “really pleased that NHS England have listened to Children’s Hospices and families of children with life shortening conditions and have given assurances that this much needed funding increase will go directly to children’s hospices as originally intended.”
She went on to say that “These essential services for some of our most vulnerable children and families are funded mainly from charitable donations and as both the cost and complexity of care continues to rise, we are seeing children’s hospices under increasing threat. This announcement will help make sure these children and families continue to get the support they need and deserve.”
Clinical Commissioning Groups have been asked to provide match funding but NHS England has now guaranteed the investment after campaigners raised concerns.