Our research shows that NHS funding for local children’s hospices in England varies by as much as £483 per child in 2022/23. We have found a huge variance in local NHS spending on lifeline care for seriously ill children, as well as a lack of understanding on the number of children who need palliative care. We are calling urgently for fair, long-term, NHS funding to sustain crucial children’s hospice services.
Huge variance in spend
In 2022/23, Norfolk and Waveney spent the highest amount per child of any ICB, averaging £511 for every child in the area with a life-limiting condition. In contrast the lowest spending ICB, South Yorkshire, spent an average of just £28 per child.
“The variation in NHS funding for children who need hospice care is a real concern,” says our CEO Andy Fletcher. “In some areas, it bears little relation to the local need for this lifeline support, which helps seriously ill children and their families make the most of the time they have.”
Fair long-term funding required
Earlier this year we campaigned to save the Children’s Hospice Grant, and we welcome the commitment made in the Summer by Minister of State for Social Care Helen Whately to provide £25 million of NHS funding for children’s hospices in 2024/25. However, neither the UK Government nor NHS England has confirmed how the grant will be distributed and we are concerned that if the grant is handed to ICBs to distribute it may not reach children’s hospices.
What’s more the grant itself is a short term fix. “There is a £300 million NHS funding gap in children’s palliative care in England,” says our Chief Executive Andy Fletcher. “If the UK Government, NHSE and ICBs fail to take this action, children and families’ access to crucial hospice and palliative care services could be put at risk.”
If you share our concerns please write to your MP today and ask them:
- To ask Ministers to confirm as a matter of urgency how much of the £25 million each children’s hospice will receive in 2024/25 and when they will receive it.
- If they and their party will now commit in their election manifestos to removing the inequality in local funding for children’s palliative care so that every family caring for a seriously ill child can access the support and care they need – when and where they need it.
Please remember to include your name and address in your email so that your MP knows that you are one of their constituents.
Got a few minutes to do more? If so, please contact the local prospective parliamentary candidates for each party who are campaigning to be elected to represent your constituency at the next election.