January 18, 2019
The UK charity, Together for Short Lives, recently reported on the success of their #FundNotFail campaign, launched in the summer of 2018, calling upon the government to increase the children’s hospice grant to £25 million to provide parity of statutory funding between children’s and adult hospices and introduce a children’s palliative care strategy. NHS England has increased vital children’s hospice funding from £11 million to £25 million and will enable hospices to support the country’s most vulnerable and seriously ill children. This increase in funding forms part of the NHS England’s long term plan. Prior to this increase children’s hospices received on average just 22% of their funding from statutory sources, compared to 33% for adult hospices. Vital care and support for families Andy Fletcher, CEO of Together for Short Lives, welcomed the news saying, “This is a very welcome boost for children’s hospices which provide such crucial care and support to seriously ill children and their families across England. We know that the number of children with life-limiting conditions is growing and the care and support they need is increasingly complex. 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.” The Together for Short Lives’ petition, signed by over 6,500 people and calling for fairer and sustainable funding for children’s hospices, was delivered to Downing Street on 11 September 2018 by representatives of the children’s palliative care sector. Critical source of income CEO of Acorns Children’s Hospice, Toby Porter, who attended the handover had this to say: “We are thrilled that NHS England has made the decision to increase the Children’s Hospice Grant. After many years where the grant has not risen, we welcome the recognition that children’s hospices face exactly the same cost pressures as the wider NHS and need more funding from the Government. While 70% of our income comes from public donations, the Children’s Hospice Grant has become a critical source of income for Acorns and for the wider children’s hospice sector. There is a direct link between this grant and the amount of care we can afford to offer.” Best Christmas gift The announcement was also welcomed by Kirsty Murray, mother of Ella who died aged two from a rare genetic disorder. She said, “I am thrilled that we have been able to make a difference to all the children and families that use hospices and it is a testament to all those that work so hard to provide care and respite around the clock whilst supporting families and helping them to create such important memories. This is the best Christmas gift for all those familie who rely on the hospices and I am so pleased that it has been noticed how important they are. This petition has proved to me that anyone can make a difference to the lives of others and I am over the moon that I got to be a part of it in memory of my little star Ella.” In the photo above: Toby Porter CEO Acorns Children’s Hospices, Catherine McKinnell MP, Andy Fletcher CEO Together for Short Lives, Kirsty Murray Mother and ambassador of petition, Steph Nimmo Mother and Together for Short Lives ambassador, Baroness Brinton, and Dr Amy Volans Newham Diana Children’s Community Team hand over the petition in Downing Street. Read the full article on the Together for Short Lives website.