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Children’s palliative care charity funding crisis in the spotlight

News and comment

Barbara Gelb OBE, Chief Executive of Together for Short Lives, appeared on BBC Breakfast this morning to call for the government to end the children’s palliative care funding crisis.

Speaking alongside David Pastor, CEO for Claire House Children’s Hospice, she explained that the number of children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions is growing and demand for children’s palliative care services is increasing. Despite this however, statutory funding for children’s hospice and palliative care services is falling and 3 out of 5 hospices saw their funding cut of frozen in the past year.

The state contributes just a fifth of children’s hospice and palliative care costs, with the public left to pick up the rest of the tab. Continued cuts or frozen statutory funding could mean that children’s hospice and palliative care charities need to consider their service offer to children and families – with the potential to cut vital services such as short breaks or bereavement support.

These children and families need vital health and social care from all the range of children’s palliative care services delivering support in the home, community and in hospices.

Barbara told the BBC’s Jayne McCubbin that:


We are on the brink of a funding mega crisis and vital lifeline services maybe reduced or even cut unless something changes. The government must act now to avoid a complete crisis in care for our most vulnerable children. They must set out long-term plans to fund children’s palliative care services fairly and sustainably and in a way that reflects the growing demand for these services. We also want the government and NHS England to make it clear to NHS organisations and local authorities that they are responsible for planning and funding children’s palliative care.

Barbara Gelb OBE, Chief Executive Together For Short Lives

The interview marks the beginning of a campaign by Together for Short Lives on the perilous state of statutory funding for children’s hospice and palliative care charities. On Tuesday 22 November, Together for Short Lives and Hospice UK will publish new research findings which will reveal the full extent of the impending funding crisis and set out what the government could do to stop it.

You can follow the campaign and join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #fundnotfail

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