A children’s hospice near Sheffield has welcomed the news that an NHS grant to the lifeline services is to more than double over the next five years.
As part of the NHS long term plan, the children’s hospice grant will increase from £11million to £25million by 2023/24, but only if local clinical commissioning groups match the extra Government money.
Prior to this, children’s hospices received on average just 22 per cent of their funding from statutory sources, compared to 33 per cent for adult hospices, with hospices relying on donations and fundraising for the remainder of their costs.
Director of care at Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice in Anston, Susan Wood, said: “We are pleased that NHS England has made the decision to increase the children’s hospice grant and welcome the recognition that children’s hospices face exactly the same cost pressures as the wider NHS and need more funding from the Government.
“Ninety per cent of our income comes from donations and we simply couldn’t offer the care we provide to families without the wonderful support of our community and corporate supporters.
“As soon as we learn exactly when and how this increased NHS England funding will be applied, we plan to work with our local CCGs to see how we can best use the funding to help more families.
“Welcome medical advances mean we need to plan and offer care for more children and young people with more complex health issues over longer periods of time, and families are relying on children’s hospices more and more.
“The increase of this grant is important news for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, and most importantly for the 301 children and families we support.”
Andy Fletcher, chief executive of Together for Short Lives, who have long campaigned for parity of funding between children and adult hospices, said: “I am delighted that NHS England has listened to what we have been saying for some time about the gap in funding for local children’s hospices, which offer a real lifeline, providing vital care and support for families providing 24/7 care.”