UK children’s palliative care charity Together for Short Lives has expressed its delight that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has recognised the outstanding care that hospices in England offer to people with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions and their families.
CQC, which regulates all health and social care in England, has reported on what it found from its inspections of hospices between 2014 and 2017. CQC states that hospice leaders and frontline staff have displayed a strong commitment to providing truly person-centred, compassionate care and support to people using their services, in addition to their loved ones. Inspectors have also found that hospices have developed strong relationships with other services in the area.
However, CQC states that there is more to be done to make sure that everyone, regardless of their background or circumstances, can access high-quality end of life care. Hospice services rated as outstanding were found to be striving to overcome such inequalities and share their expertise to drive better care in other services.
Barbara Gelb OBE, Chief Executive of Together for Short Lives, said:
“I am very pleased that CQC has highlighted the outstanding care that hospices provide in England. It is excellent that inspectors have recognised the high-quality care and support that the dedicated staff of these lifeline services offer to people of all ages with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions. As part of networks of children’s palliative care services provided by the NHS, local authorities and other voluntary sector organisations, children’s hospices play a vital role in achieving the best possible quality of life and quality of death for babies, children and young people needing these services.”
“In order to maintain this level of quality of care for society’s most vulnerable children, it is vital that children’s hospice services receive equitable and sustainable funding from the state and I call on the government to work with Together for Short Lives to find solutions to the worrying challenges that children’s hospice services face; currently, planning and funding of children’s hospice care is a postcode lottery, and they only receive 22% of their charitable costs from the NHS and local authorities. Children’s hospices also face a significant workforce challenge, with a nurse vacancy rate (11%) on a par with the NHS.”
Together for Short Lives has worked closely with CQC to recruit experts by experience, including parents and carers of children with life-limiting conditions, who have been part of the teams inspecting children’s hospice services. All hospices in England are now preparing to be regulated within the CQC’s healthcare framework and to move from the responsibility of the Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care to the Chief Inspector of Hospitals. Together for Short Lives continues to work constructively with CQC to shape the new regulatory system with the aim of making sure that it fairly and proportionately regulates the care that children’s hospices provide.
You can read the CQC’s report ‘The state of hospice services in England 2014 to 2017’ here.
Find out how you can support Together for Short Lives’ campaigns to transform the lives of children with life-limiting conditions and their families here.