Hospice funding ‘frozen’ as demand increases
- Credit: Archant
North Devon hospice charities among those battling for increased funding from local healthcare commissioners.
North Devon’s two hospice charities are among those battling for increased funding from local healthcare commissioners.
North Devon Hospice (NDH) said its grant had been frozen for nearly 10 years and it received less than the national average for UK hospices.
The hospice, which costs nearly £5million to run and cares for more than 3,000 people every year, receives just 21 per cent of its funding from NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW CCG).
Meanwhile, Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW) has received the same level of funding since 2010 – a contribution of around eight per cent of the charity’s £8million annual total running costs.
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A study by national charities Hospice UK and Together for Short Lives shows that more than two thirds of UK hospices had statutory funding frozen or slashed in 2014/15 – largely because of financial restrictions on NHS commissioners or stand-still budgets.
Jonathan Ellis, director of policy and advocacy at Hospice UK, said: “NHS funding for hospice care is continuing to be squeezed, yet demand for hospice care continues to rise and will grow even more in the future, due to the UK’s ageing population.
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“CCGs should be investing in hospice care which can help the NHS to cope with increasing demand, such as reducing the number of people who are in hospital at the end of life, with no need to be there.”
Stephen Roberts, chief executive of NDH, said: “It’s a really tricky task for the commissioners because there is clearly not enough money to go round all the care services that need to be funded.”
Mr Roberts said any grant offered ‘excellent value for money’ but nearly 80 per cent of the hospice’s services were funded by local people.
“It is becoming harder and harder to raise the money needed, but with an ageing population the demand for services is only going to increase.
“It will be difficult to expand our care to meet demand unless our funding is more secure. If we could be assured of a larger grant from the local commissioning group, it would make a big difference.”
A statement from NEW CCG said overall funding to NDH had been increased in the most recent funding round for 2015/16.
It added: “We have a statutory duty to ensure the public get the best possible value for their money, and all services, irrespective of their funding status, are subject to that challenge each year.”