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Woodlands Hospice in Liverpool, with their local MP, secures Parliamentary debate on future funding

Author: Suzanne Stevenson
09 February 2018

Following a recent visit to Woodlands Hospice in Liverpool, Dan Carden, MP for Liverpool, Walton, took the hospice funding issues identified by Woodlands, to an adjournment debate in the House of Commons this week.

He praised the care provided by Woodlands Hospice, “a place brimming with life” through its wide range of services which enable people with life-limiting conditions to live their lives in “a positive and independent way”.  He highlighted that the hospice had to raise £1.3m each year through the support of its local community against a backdrop of financial uncertainty and squeezed living standards.

The MP for Liverpool, Walton, said he hoped the debate would focus attention on funding for the hospice sector across the UK as a whole and the need for viable funding that was longer term and better planned.

He said hospices were “an essential part of the health and social care economy” and that there was a need to look at sustainable funding for hospices across the UK, especially in more deprived areas, which he believed, should receive more statutory funding.

Mr Carden added that the complexity of funding for hospices was creating organizational difficulties for management and staff. Commissioning and contracting arrangements for hospices were still causing issues he said, with around a third of hospices nationally working with four of more commissioners.

“NHS funding needs to be on a more committed and sustainable basis to allow for planning and development, and to enable staff to devote more of their time and energy to doing what needs to be done in relation to patient care,” he said.

He highlighted that currently funding decisions, for many hospices, are being made on a year-by-year basis and asked Health Minister Jackie Doyle-Price, who attended the debate, what was being done to encourage longer term funding models through multi-year agreements.

In response Health Minister Jackie Doyle-Price, said while funding remains a local decision, the Government took deprivation into account when making allocations to Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

She added that there were clear expectations about what CCGs should be delivering as the Government develops national policies on end of life, and that support for hospices formed part of that.

“Given the number of people who pass away in hospices and the care that they receive, we would encourage CCGs to carefully consider the extent to which they support hospices she said.

She also mentioned moves to improve commissioning arrangements, namely a new palliative care pricing system to be launched in April, which aims to encourage more consistency in how much CCGs are supporting the sector.

You can watch the debate on the Parliament live TV website.

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