Dy­ing chil­dren hit as NHS cuts hos­pice fund­ing

Daily Express - - News - By Hanna Geissler Health Re­porter

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.

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