Hospice chief backs calls for fairer funding
PUBLISHED: 08:13 28 June 2018
The chief executive of a North Somerset charity is backing a parliamentary bill calling for fairer funding for hospices.
The NHS currently funds between one and 50 per cent of services provided by hospices.
MP Bambos Charalambous has tabled a parliamentary bill in an effort to iron out uneven financial allocations. He wants a new law ‘to require the provision of comprehensive palliative care to those with terminal illnesses’.
Weston Hospicecare’s chief executive, Paul Winspear, has joined a growing number of sector experts in backing the bill.
Mr Charalambous said: “I am staggered by the thought many hospices survive thanks only to their own fundraising activities or the generosity of donors.
“Palliative care needs to go hand in hand with hospital treatment and should be available for all. Unfortunately, the provision of palliative care is patchy at best.
“We need to have properly funded nationwide palliative care provision that is integrated with local authorities, community care providers and local NHS providers, so there is a comprehensive and coherent way of addressing end-of-life care.”
St Peter’s Hospice in Bristol is this year raising £1.5million to pay for a new inpatients unit and is reliant on public donations, not NHS funding.
Mr Winspear hopes the area’s MPs will back the bill too.
He said: “The UK is covered by a patchwork quilt of more than 200 hospices, like Weston Hospicecare, which provide palliative care and end-of-life care to our communities, and most of which are independently run and registered as charities.
“If that quilt was to be ripped away, our hospitals and care homes would be completely unable to cope, and the patients and families who find solace, refuge and respite in our hospices would be left out in the cold.
“The gap in end-of-life care provision without hospices is, quite simply, unthinkable.
“The bill correctly points out while average funding of hospices’ total operating costs is around 30 per cent, this number fluctuates wildly, with the applicable number seemingly an accident of postcode, and with baffling differences in funding levels by the clinical commissioning groups.
“Weston Hospicecare agrees the role played by hospices throughout the UK, the care provided by our patchwork quilt, should be recognised, quantified, acknowledged and properly funded in a more consistent and fair manner.”