Dying children hit as NHS cuts hospice funding
NHS and council cuts are hitting vital care for seriously ill children, a survey of hospices has found.
In the two years to 201819, the funding each children’s hospice charity received from local NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) fell by more than £7,000 on average – a two per cent cut, says Together for Short Lives.
The charity’s survey of 27 of 34 children’s hospices in England suggests the overall contribution to expenditure from state sources, including the NHS grant, local authorities and CCGs, fell from 27 per cent in 201314 to 21 per cent in 2018-19.
Funding varied widely with 15 per cent receiving none from their CCGs.
Together for Short Lives boss Andy Fletcher said: “Children’s hospices are facing a dangerous cocktail of growing costs and declining, patchy NHS funding, which is putting their longterm future at risk.”
It accused NHS England of going back on a promised £7million extra funding annually over the next five years.
The uncertainty has been blamed for plans to close Acorn Children’s Hospice in Walsall, which Mr Fletcher said could be the “tip of the iceberg”.
Meanwhile, the money spent by each children’s hospice annually has risen 4.5 per cent to an average of £3,681,442 in the two years to 2018-19.
Mr Fletcher said it was “simply not sustainable” to rely on “the generosity of the public”. The NHS was approached for comment.