Catherine calls on PM to fund, not fail seriously ill children

Newcastle North MP, Catherine McKinnell, yesterday joined the children’s palliative care charity Together for Short Lives in delivering a petition to 10 Downing Street which calls on the Government to fund, not fail seriously ill children in England.

Signed by 6,670 people, the petition calls on Prime Minister Theresa May to use some of the 3.4% NHS funding boost she announced in June to:

  • increase the NHS England Children’s Hospice Grant to £25 million a year;
  • bring about parity of funding between children’s and adult hospices in England; and
  • develop a funded, cross-departmental government children’s palliative strategy for England – so that seriously ill children can access the care and support they need, when and where they need it.

Increasing the Children’s Hospice Grant to £25million a year would cover 14% of the cost of the clinical care provided by children’s hospices, equivalent to the contribution originally made by the Department of Health when the grant was first awarded in 2006.  At present, children’s hospices currently receive only 22% of their funding from statutory sources, compared to 33% in adult hospices.

Catherine, who is co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Children Who Need Palliative Care in Westminster, said:

‘Children’s hospices, like St Oswald’s in Newcastle, provide vital support to children and families facing challenges that many of us couldn’t imagine.  However, crucial services like those provided by St Oswald’s receive patchy and unsustainable funding that doesn’t match the amount provided to adults’ services.

‘I’m delighted to join Together for Short Lives and the thousands of people who signed the petition to say it is time for the Government to fund, not fail seriously ill children in England. The Government must make sure that babies, children and young people who require palliative care receive the support and services they need to lead the best possible life, wherever they are in the country.’

Catherine was accompanied in delivering the petition yesterday by:

  • Andy Fletcher, Chief Executive of Together for Short Lives
  • Kirsty Murray, mother to Ella, who died as a result of a life-limiting condition
  • Toby Porter, Chief Executive of Acorns Children’s Hospices
  • Dr Amy Volans, Clinical Psychologist and Systemic Family Psychotherapist, Newham Diana Children’s Community Team
  • Steph Nimmo, mother to Daisy, who died as a result of a life-limiting condition, and who is a Together for Short Lives Parent Ambassador
  • Baroness Brinton, President of the Liberal Democrats.