NHS England protects £25million for children’s hospices following Together for Short Lives’ campaign

NHS England has announced a decision to increase its funding for children’s hospices from £12m to £25m. This increase is expected to be phased over the next five years.

We are pleased and grateful at today’s announcement from NHS England, which is a welcome recognition of the critical role of children’s hospices in the lives of the families they support, and of the increasing financial challenges facing many hospices.

It is our understanding that this new funding will take five years to reach its maximum level, and it is not yet clear how much extra funding Acorns will receive as a result of this, or when. Nothing is more important to us than being able to continue to provide care to the children and families that need us in Walsall and the Black Country. We will continue to keep families and the local Walsall community closely informed.

Acorns will continue to actively explore with local NHS commissioners, local authorities, as well as with existing and potential new supporters across the local community, to see if we can find the additional income we need.

NHS England’s decision follows Together for Short Lives’ long-term campaign calling on the government to:

  • Increase the Children’s Hospice Grant to £25million.
  • Provide parity of statutory funding between children’s and adult hospices
  • Develop a fully-funded children’s palliative care strategy.

Together for Short Lives’ campaign has been widely supported by children’s hospice organisations, families caring for seriously ill children, bereaved families and thousands of the charity’s supporters. In June 2019, Together for Short Lives published new research on statutory funding for children’s hospices in England which revealed that NHS and local council cuts are hitting lifeline hospice care for seriously ill children.

Currently, children’s hospices receive on average just 21% of their funding from statutory sources, compared to 33% for adult hospices. Children’s hospices rely on donations and fundraising for the remainder of their costs.

The All Party Parliamentary Group for Children Who Need Palliative Care, co-chaired by Dr Caroline Johnson MP and Catherine McKinnell MP, played a key role in raising this issue with ministers in Parliament.

Last month, Mark Lyttle, the recently bereaved father of Isabella, and Acorns Chief Executive, Toby Porter, met with Walsall and Black Country MPs to address the All Party Parliamentary Group for Children Who Need Palliative Care and a senior official from NHS England.

Toby has paid tribute to Mark’s work on behalf of Acorns and the country’s children’s hospices.

Toby said: “It is a privilege for Acorns to be able to bring individuals like Mark Lyttle into direct contact with MPs. His late daughter Isabella would be incredibly proud that the calls her father made in Parliament for a fairer NHS funding settlement for Acorns and other children’s hospices have now been met.”

Please visit Together for Short Lives for more information.