Stark warning over funding for children's hospices

Derian House has warned it cannot survive on Government cash, after a study revealed children's hospices are on the brink of a funding crisis.

Georgina Cox, CEO of Derian House children's hospice
Georgina Cox, CEO of Derian House children's hospice

Charities Together for Short Lives and Hospice UK - both of which Derian House is a member of - found hospices across the country are struggling due to falling state income as a proportion of their costs - which are rising by about 10 per cent every year.

The report claims this year hospices received 61 per cent less than they received in 2014/15, owing to cuts and freezes in local authority and NHS spending.

Derian House, in Astley Village, Chorley, needs £3.75m every year to keep running - up more than 29 per cent on its target from three years ago.

But last year it received only seven per cent of funding from the Government, with the rest donated by the community and corportate partners.

Barbara Gelb, chief executive of Together for Short Lives, said: “Inadequate funding of children’s palliative care services - across health and social care - means we are collectively failing the most vulnerable children in society, choosing to turn away from families who need help the most.

“We believe that ministers should follow the example of the Scottish Government, which has recently committed £30m to the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland over the next five years.”

Georgina Cox, chief executive of Derian House, said: “In 2016 we must raise £3.75m to ensure we continue to provide children and young people with life-threatening illnesses and life-limiting conditions the excellent care they deserve and their families with the on-going support they need.

“As medical science and research continues to develop new treatments to extend and improve the quality of life of our children and young people, so our support and costs increase each year.

“In 2015 we received only seven per cent of our funding from the Government which would allow the hospice to open a few weeks a year.

“The support we receive from communities, groups and our corporate partners across the North West is therefore essential and we could not offer the care we do without their generosity and continued commitment.”