Funding for children’s hospices will rise to £25 million a year, NHS England has pledged.
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 increase with an additional £13 million going to children’s hospices in 2023/24.
Clinical Commissioning Groups have been asked to provide match funding but NHS England has now guaranteed the investment after campaigners raised concerns.
Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: “Hospices play a crucial role in providing essential children’s palliative care services, which is why our NHS Long Term Plan will double the contribution made to children’s hospices.”
James Sanderson, Director of Personalised Care at NHS England and Improvement, said: “There can be no more difficult time for a parent or carer than looking after a child at the end of their life.
“Supporting families when they need it most is a top priority for the NHS and that is why we will ensure that this funding reaches children’s hospices.”
Andy Fletcher, Chief Executive of Together for Short Lives said: “This is a really welcome commitment to invest in children’s hospices at a crucial time. We know that the number of children with life-limiting conditions is growing and the care and support they need is increasingly complex.”
“With this complexity comes greater cost and I am pleased that NHS England has listened to concerns raised around a growing funding gap. This announcement will give children’s hospices more confidence to plan and deliver their services and provide vital support to meet the needs of seriously ill children and families.”
Tracey Bleakley, CEO of Hospice UK said “I’m 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.”
“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.”