Demelza Hospice Care for Children is calling for increased funding for children with serious and terminal conditions – and is asking local MPs for their support.
The charity, which supports families in Kent, South East London and East Sussex, would like part of a recent £20 billion NHS funding boost to be allocated to vital hospice services which support children with terminal and serious conditions and their families.
Demelza wants to see the Children’s Hospice Grant in England, which is shared among 38 children’s hospices, rise from £11 million to £25 million. There is a call for an increase in funding as the number of children with life-limiting conditions is increasing and the demand for children’s palliative care is growing, but funding for services has not kept pace with demand.
, Demelza’s Chief Executive, has written to MPs in Kent, East Sussex and South East London, to ask for their help.
Mr Campbell said: “Demelza provides palliative care for over 750 life-limited and life-threatened babies, children and young people in the South East and supports their families. We know there are more who need our help and that the number of children with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions is increasing.
“The grant has grown incrementally from £8.8 million in 2006/07 but it has not kept pace with the growing costs of providing specialist care.
“I am keen that some of the additional NHS funding recently announced by the Prime Minister is used to recognise the growing demand for care and support that Demelza Hospice Care for Children provides.
“Investing in children’s palliative care means that children and families can access vital services which help manage pain and distressing symptoms and offer short breaks for respite desperately needed by families providing 24/7 care, 365 days a year.
“Our MPs have been very supportive since we raised this issue with them, for which we are very grateful.”
Demelza has a children’s hospice in Sittingbourne, Kent
and another in Eltham, South East London
. It provides support in family homes and the community in East Sussex. Demelza receives just a share of the £11 million Children’s Hospice Grant – with the money divided up between all of the children’s hospices in England and Wales.
In support of Demelza’s call for more funding the MP for Lewisham West and Penge Ellie Reeves raised a parliamentary question asking what recent assessment there had been of the level of funding for the Children’s Hospice Grant. She was told that there has been a consultation and it had been decided to keep the grant funding at its current level and to carry out a review in 2019/20. Following the answer the MP is to table a further question asking what assessment has been made of the adequacy of the funding.
Roger Gale, MP for Thanet, has contacted the NHS Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group to discuss funding locally and Brighton MP Caroline Lucas has said she will call for the Government to increase the grant and for the development of a funded, cross-departmental children’s palliative strategy for England.
Demelza and other children’s hospices across England are working with Together for Short Lives to call for more funds. Together for Short Lives has launched an online petition urging the Government to increase the children’s hospice grant.
Click here to find out more and sign the petition.