Worcester MP Robin Walker has welcomed NHS England’s decision to ring fence £25million of NHS funding to support children’s hospices by 2023/24, increasing annually from this year’s baseline of £12 million.
Across England, 40,000 babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions rely on palliative care to enhance their quality of life, manage symptoms and provide their families with much needed help and rest.
This welcome pledge will take the pressure of children’s hospices and better enable them to plan and deliver lifeline care and support to some of England’s most seriously ill children. The funding will come directly from NHS England and will no longer rely on match funding from clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), which is very good news for those delivering children’s hospice care across England.
As Worcester’s MP, Robin believes that this is a major step forward in children’s hospice funding having recently met with Chief Executive of Acorns Children’s Hospice Trust, Toby Porter, to discuss the urgent need for this funding and relayed these concerns to the Health Secretary, the Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP.
Robin is a longstanding supporter of the hospice movement and has focussed especially on children’s palliative care and the work Acorn’s Hospice provides in his constituency. Robin has been vocal in his support for children and young people with life-shortening conditions, he concentrated on the support for young people transitioning into adulthood and ensuring they have the best quality of life in the time they have. This is an area on which Acorn’s has done ground-breaking work.
NHS England’s decision follows Together for Short Lives’ long-term campaign calling on the government to:
- Increase the Children’s Hospice Grant to £25million.
- Provide parity of statutory funding between children’s and adult hospices
- Develop a fully-funded children’s palliative care strategy.
This campaign has been supported by Acorns and will provide much-needed confidence that will enable children’s hospices to maintain and deliver their services to seriously ill children, and in doing so help reduce pressure on the NHS, keeping children out of hospital longer and supporting the wider family.
Speaking after the announcement, Robin said:
“This is a hugely positive development for Acorns which provides incredible care for children with life limiting conditions across the three counties at its Worcester Hospice.”
“Having visited Acorns many times over the years I have always been impressed by the tailored care that provide for children and their families. When I recently met their Chief Executive in London he urged me to press the case for this vital funding from the NHS.”
“I went straight to the Health Secretary and encouraged him to look at this as a matter of urgency and I am delighted to see that the commitment that children’s hospices has been provided in full.”
Andy Fletcher, Chief Executive for 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.”
“All children’s palliative care services, delivered in hospitals, children’s hospices and the community, need equitable and sustainable funding, so it is most encouraging to hear that NHS England has also pledged to review the wider availability of children’s palliative care to understand what additional resources are needed across the sector. Today’s 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.”
For more information on Children’s Hospices in Worcester, please see:
For Robin’s previous speeches in Parliament in support of local Hospices: