NHS announces £25 million boost for Children's Hospices

27 December 2018
NHS England today announced its plan to increase funding for children's hospices to as much as £25 million a year, following a campaign led by Together for Short Lives.

The #fundnotfail campaign, launched in summer 2018, called on the government to increase the children’s hospice grant to £25million, provide parity of statutory funding between children’s and adult hospices, and introduce a children’s palliative care strategy. 

As part of the NHS long term plan, additional funding will be available each year over the next five years, increasing by up to £7m a year by 2023/24, if clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) also provide additional match funding. 

Demelza's Chief Executive Ryan Campbell CBE has welcomed the news, saying: "We are heartened that the Government have recognised the crucial contribution of children's hospices to the overall care of children with terminal and life-limiting conditions and their families. Hospices are still very much reliant on charitable funding for the majority of their income but this makes a meaningful difference.

"We have campaigned for this for years, alongside Together for Short Lives and the children's hospice movement. We are delighted, as will be the families now and in the future who rely on us for their care."

The funding will enable children’s hospices like Demelza Hospice Care for Children to maintain and develop their services for the most complex children, and in doing so help reduce pressure on the NHS, keeping children out of hospital longer and supporting the wider family.

Demelza only receives around 20% of its funding from the NHS and local authorities. Across England as a whole, children’s hospices received on average 22% of their funding from statutory sources in 2016/17, compared to 33% for adult hospices. Hospices like ours rely on donations and fundraising for the remainder of their costs. 

At present, we are currently only reaching about 20 percent of families who could benefit from our support, and because of advances in medical practice there are more and more families in need. The work we do is getting more and more complex.

The Together for Short Lives petition called for fairer and sustainable funding for children’s hospices. It was delivered to Downing Street on 11 September 2018 by representatives from across the children’s palliative care sector.