Hospices face widespread funding cuts

21 January 2011
A nationwide survey has found that 30% of UK hospices suffered funding cuts in 2010. Hospices across the country are losing out, despite an extra £150m of state funds being made available to support the implementation of the End of Life Care Strategy in 2010/11.

In 2011/12 there will be no extra money linked with the End of Life Care Strategy, while at the same time there will be increased pressure on providers to reduce costs.

Eve Richardson, chief executive of The National Council for Palliative Care, the national umbrella charity for end of life care, said:
“We only get one chance to get it right for dying people and their families, and they should not be seen as a soft target by primary care trusts (PCTs) in financial difficulties. As one service told us, some PCTs are cutting end of life care funding ‘because they can’. With PCTs being abolished and the NHS being reformed, the danger is that people approaching the end of life will slip through the cracks in the system over the next few years.”
Jonathan Ellis, director of public policy and parliamentary affairs at Help the Hospices, the leading charity supporting hospice care throughout the UK, said:
“This survey reinforces the need for a fair and transparent system of funding for hospices that recognises the true value of the care hospices provide to people facing the end of life, and their friends and family.
“It is concerning that nearly 30% of hospices surveyed have already had their statutory funding cut this year and it is frustrating that in many areas the extra funding allocated to hospice and palliative care is still not getting through to frontline services. While the palliative care funding review is looking at this, the government must take responsibility for making sure that hospice and palliative care remains an integral part of the health and social care reform agenda.”

The survey, commissioned by The National Council for Palliative Care and Help the Hospices, looked at the funding available to over 100 adult palliative care providers in England. A third of these providers reported that they were aware of cuts already impacting upon local palliative services. A third also anticipate that statutory funding will decrease in 2011/2012.

Eve Richardson, chief executive of The National Council for Palliative Care, the national umbrella charity for end of life care, said:

“We only get one chance to get it right for dying people and their families, and they should not be seen as a soft target by primary care trusts (PCTs) in financial difficulties. As one service told us, some PCTs are cutting end of life care funding ‘because they can’. With PCTs being abolished and the NHS being reformed, the danger is that people approaching the end of life will slip through the cracks in the system over the next few years.”

Jonathan Ellis, director of public policy and parliamentary affairs at Help the Hospices, the leading charity supporting hospice care throughout the UK, said:

“This survey reinforces the need for a fair and transparent system of funding for hospices that recognises the true value of the care hospices provide to people facing the end of life, and their friends and family.

“It is concerning that nearly 30% of hospices surveyed have already had their statutory funding cut this year and it is frustrating that in many areas the extra funding allocated to hospice and palliative care is still not getting through to frontline services. While the palliative care funding review is looking at this, the government must take responsibility for making sure that hospice and palliative care remains an integral part of the health and social care reform agenda.”

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