David Cameron has announced a new per-patient funding stream for all hospices and other providers of end-of-life care, to ensure that proper funding for essential home and community-based care for sick children can continue.
He also pledged to continue the £10million annual grant for children’s hospices until the reforms become fully operational, so that there is no gap in funding.
Speaking about the announcement from Rainbows Hospice in Loughborough, David said:
“This Christmas many thousands of families in Britain are caring for terminally ill children. This New Year they’ll be coping with the worry of an uncertain future. It is essential that these parents and carers get the support they need to make life liveable, comfortable and fun for both them and their children.
“Hospices provide a vital part of that support. They are a sanctuary for parents looking for specialist help and understanding, a special place for children to have short breaks and – most importantly – a loving, professional environment for care at the end of a child’s life. So it is extremely concerning to hear that the grant runs out in March 2011 and there are no current plans to renew it. The Conservative Party is today making a commitment to ensuring that proper funding for this essential sector can continue.
“This is about prioritising what is most important in our public services – and nothing can be more important than caring for our most vulnerable children.”
Shadow Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley commented:
“Children’s hospices do a fantastic job in caring and supporting children and their families at a time when they desperately need it.
“Like most charities, the recession means their donations are down so it’s more important than ever that they know they can rely on the funding they get from the Government.
“In the longer-term, Conservatives will make sure all hospices are properly paid for the work they do, which would otherwise be the NHS’ responsibility. The support they provide at the end of people’s lives is invaluable; paying them properly will mean that more people are helped to die at home or in the community as is their wish, rather than being needlessly rushed into hospital.”