A cross-party group of MPs and peers has welcomed the news that NHS England is planning to spend more money on children’s hospices – and has recognised children’s palliative care as an important priority in its new Long Term Plan.
The new funding could be worth up to £25million per year if local NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) match the additional £7million per year that NHS England is willing to spend on children’s hospices. The news follows a call by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Children Who Need Palliative Care, which asked Ministers to invest more in services after its inquiry into the Government’s end of life care choice commitment for children.
Children’s hospices currently receive an £11million grant from NHS England. These vital services help to widen the choices that seriously ill children and their families can make about how and where they receive their care. They can also reduce unplanned, emergency admissions to hospital and give families regular, much-needed breaks from caring.
Welcoming the announcement, Dr Caroline Johnson, Conservative MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham and Co-Chair of the APPG, said:
‘This is excellent news for children with life-limiting conditions, their families and the children’s hospices that provide them with crucial palliative care. I thank Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock, Care Minister Caroline Dinenage and NHS England Chief Executive Simon Stevens for listening to the APPG and to the voices of children, families and services across England. The extra money will make a big difference to some of the most vulnerable children in our society. I call on the government to go further by developing a funded children’s palliative care strategy as part of the new NHS long-term plan. This should provide a long-term, sustainable footing for NHS hospital and community-based services and other children’s palliative care charities.’
Catherine McKinnell, Labour MP for Newcastle North and Co-Chair of the APPG, said:
‘This additional money will help children’s hospices like St Oswald’s in Newcastle to meet the needs of the growing number of seriously ill children, who have a range of increasingly complex life-limiting and life-threatening conditions. To make sure that they are able to meet their end of life care commitment, I call on Ministers to fully implement the APPG’s recommendations, and use next year’s Spending Review to make sure that local authorities also have the money they need to sustainably fund the social care that children with life-limiting conditions and their families rely on.’