Hospice funding reform appeal backed by Weston Hospicecare chief executive
PUBLISHED: 11:00 28 June 2018
‘Baffling’ discrepancies in palliative care funding across the UK are unfair and must be remedied by Government action, according to Weston Hospicecare’s chief executive.
Paul Winspear has joined a growing number of sector experts in backing a parliamentary bill calling for funding reform.
The NHS currently funds between one and 50 per cent of services provided by hospices and MP Bambos Charalambous has tabled a parliamentary bill in an effort to iron out uneven financial allocations.
Mr Charalambous wants new laws ‘to require the provision of comprehensive palliative care to those with terminal illnesses’.
He 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.”
Weston Hospicecare is supporting the bill, and Mr Winspear hopes the area’s MPs will back the idea 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 were 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 from anywhere from one per cent to 50 per cent, with the applicable number seemingly an accident of postcode, and with baffling differences in funding levels by the clinical commissioning groups between regions.
“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.”