Together for Short Lives (TfSL) has launched a public petition urging the UK government to increase funding to children’s hospices.
The petition follows the announcement earlier this month that the government will boost NHS funding by 3.4 per cent. TfSL are asking for some of this extra money to increase NHS England Children’s Hospice Grant to £25 million, to bring about parity of funding between children’s and adult hospices in England, and develop a funded, cross-departmental government children’s palliative strategy to include health and social care support provided across the statutory and voluntary sectors.
Research by TfSL states that children’s hospices receive 20 per cent of their funding from the state, far less than adult hospices, and without an increase in the Children’s Hospice Grant they face serious financial issues and potential cuts to vital services.
The charity has found that voluntary sector providers are struggling to cope with cuts to their statutory funding. On average, the overall amount of statutory funding for charities providing children’s palliative care has been falling year on year (22 per cent in 2015/16 compared to 23 per cent in 2014/15 and 27 per cent in 2013/14), while adult hospices receive 33 per cent. Meanwhile the number of children with life-limiting conditions increases, and demand for children’s palliative care is growing.
Andrew Fletcher, CEO of TfSL said:
“The NHS 70th birthday is a time to celebrate the incredible impact it has had on some of the most vulnerable children and families in our society. Through advances in treatment more babies, children and young people are living longer, which is very good news. But there’s an unprecedented demand for children’s palliative care, and funding is failing to keep pace. We cannot fail these children, and that is why we are asking the Prime Minister to use a small part of £20 billion boost in NHS funding to increase the Children’s Hospice Grant to £25 million - and put in place a funded children’s palliative care strategy which makes sure that seriously ill children can access the care and support they need, when and where they need it.”
TfSL have developed a number of initiatives to help children and their families access palliative care services when and where they need them. Last month they launched My Care Transfer, a digital record for each patient containing information on emergency care plans, personal care preferences, daily routines, allergies and symptom management. The records can be viewed easily by families on desktop computers, mobile phones and tablets, and have been designed to make it easier for healthcare professionals to access details of each child’s condition, ensuring no key information gets lost, particularly when young people move between children’s and adult services.
For more information visit the Together for Short Lives website.