The Prime Minister has announced a £25m cash boost for hospices and palliative care services so they can continue to provide support for those at the end of their lives.
This money will help keep many of these facilities – which receive the majority of their funding from the voluntary sector – open, says the Government, and will improve the quality of end of life care, ensuring people die as comfortably as possible. The hope is that the cash boost for hospices will also support the sector in relieving workforce pressures as well as introducing new services – such as out-of-hours support, respite care and specialist community teams.
Prime Minister, Boris Johnson said, 'Seeing a loved one nearing the end of their life is one of the hardest things a family will ever experience, so it’s vital that we support our fantastic and hard-working hospice staff to deliver the highest quality palliative care.
'As Prime Minister I am making sure that today our hospices and palliative care services are given a £25m boost to alleviate the everyday pressures faced on the front-line, helping to ensure they have the resources they need, when they need them.'
Today’s announcement follows campaigning from Chief Executive of Hospice UK, Tracey Bleakley and its Chair, Robert Peston. They recently met with Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock to discuss the pressures facing hospices – from falling fundraising and legacies to reduced local statutory support.
Mr Hancock said, 'End of life is vitally important, and our NHS is committed to caring for you from cradle to grave. This cash boost will protect our precious hospices and palliative care services so people across the country will have the best, most personalised and dignified choices when they die.
'We should expect the highest quality support, so we can spend the last days of our life with our loved ones, dying with dignity in the way that we want to.'
The hospice care sector supports more than 200,000 people with terminal and life-limiting conditions in the UK each year, as well as supporting tens of thousands of family members with bereavement support.
Tracey Bleakley, Chief Executive of Hospice UK, said, 'We are pleased that the Government has responded to Hospice UK’s call for extra funding for charitable hospices in England and recognises that many are currently overstretched, amidst rising service costs and increasing demand for the care they provide.
'While this funding boost is welcome and timely, many charitable hospices are facing grave, financial challenges in the long-term and need to raise over £1bn a year in a very tough fundraising climate. As demand grows and costs increase, the need for funding rises every year.
'The support pledged today is an important first step to help protect the vital care provided by charitable hospices for people with life-limiting conditions and their families.'
Robert Peston, Chair of Hospice UK, said, 'Many hospices and palliative care providers are facing acute financial pressures and are struggling to meet the growing need for their desperately important services.
'This injection of new funds by the Government could not have come at a more critical time. It will help many, but it will not completely alleviate the serious funding problems facing a swelling number of charitable hospices.'