Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice calls for key NHS grant for children’s hospices to be protected

Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice is joining UK children’s palliative care charity Together for Short Lives in calling on the government and the NHS to protect and extend children’s hospice funding in England.

The call comes as Together for Short Lives released a new report to mark Children’s Hospice Week (20-26 June) which shows patchy NHS funding for children’s hospices in England as costs rise due to inflation and workforce shortages.

Lifeline hospice care for seriously ill children and young people could be put at risk if NHS England does not commit to providing the Children’s Hospice Grant as a central grant beyond 2023/24.

Fundraising is just one income stream that the hospice relies on.

Together for Short Lives welcomes the planned increase in the NHS England grant to £21million in 2022/23 and then £25million in 2023/24.

However, officials are refusing to commit to protecting and extending the grant as a funding stream distributed centrally by NHS England after 2023/24.

The report highlights the important progress made in NHS funding for children’s hospices in recent years. The government and NHS England have provided a central grant to children’s hospices since 2007, which in 2021/22 was worth a total of £17million. On average, it represented around one pound in every six of that spent by children’s hospices on the care and support they provide (15%).

On average, children’s hospices expect their charitable expenditure to grow by over one-fifth (22%) between 2021/22 and 2022/23. Children’s hospices in England have higher vacancy rates relative to the NHS; as inflation rises and children’s hospices compete with other health providers to recruit and retain the staff they need, children’s hospices now rely on the larger Children’s Hospice Grant.

Gareth Pierce, director of income generation at Forget Me Not said: “The demand for our services is ever-increasing, the care and support that families need is becoming more and more complex and the cost of delivering that care and support continues to rise. Extending the Children’s Hospice Grant beyond 2023/24 is vital if we are to protect the services that local families depend on, like end-of-life care, respite care and family support.”

Courtesy of Health & Wellbeing | Huddersfield Times