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Statutory hospice funding “fragile, unfair and unsustainable”


14 July 2015

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The statutory funding for adult and children’s hospices in England is fragile, unfair and unsustainable according to research from two leading charities, who are calling for government action.

More than two thirds (69%) of the hospices surveyed report that their statutory funding was slashed or frozen in 2014/15 – while any increases in clinical commissioning group (CCG) funding have predominantly been for new services, rather than core funding.

The statutory funding for adult and children’s hospices in England is fragile, unfair and unsustainable according to research from two leading charities, who are calling for government action.

More than two thirds (69%) of the hospices surveyed report that their statutory funding was slashed or frozen in 2014/15 – while any increases in clinical commissioning group (CCG) funding have predominantly been for new services, rather than core funding.

CCG contributions for adult hospice care costs vary from less than 1% to more than 50% across England. For children’s hospices, CCG funding averages 10% of their care costs and nearly nine in ten (89%) said they could be forced to reduce their services if the annual NHS England grant to children’s hospices was not available.

James Cooper, interim head of public affairs at Together for Short Lives, said: “NHS England must continue its annual grant to children’s hospices until a new system brings about fair and sustainable funding for children’s palliative care. Without it, children’s hospice services may have to scale back their life–line services which families reply on – which could put more pressure on the NHS.”

Similarly, Jonathan Ellis, director of policy and advocacy at Hospice UK, said: “Hospices are effectively in limbo until a new funding system for palliative care is implemented… Failure by the NHS to act will be storing up huge problems for how our society supports terminally ill and dying people in the future,” he said.

Hospice UK and Together for Short Lives are calling on the government to set out how it will bring about fair and sustainable funding for hospice and palliative care.

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