Hospice boss welcomes cash boost

The Chief Executive of East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) last night welcomed the news that the Department of Health is to put £27 million into hospice services in England during the next three years.

By John Howard

The Chief Executive of East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) last night welcomed the news that the Department of Health is to put £27 million into hospice services in England during the next three years.

Thousands of children with terminal illnesses will benefit from palliative care in specialist hospices thanks to the multi-million pound funding package announced by the department yesterday.

Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt said that the money would allow organisations in England to expand their delivery of palliative care both at home and in hospices.


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EACH Chief Executive Graham Butland said: “We have been campaigning for this throughout the last year.

“At EACH we have had to reduce our services and make some staff redundant as a result of the ending of lottery funding.

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“Although there is no information at this moment as to how the money will be allocated between the 32 children's hospices across the country, I am sure that EACH will secure some of this money.”

During the last year, 350 families were cared for by EACH at its hospices in Ipswich, Milton in Cambridgeshire and Quidenham in Norfolk. In 2006/07 it will cost around £4million to continue their work.

The organisation, which has been facing a loss of the bulk of its lottery funding and a £650,000 shortfall in funds, has recently cut 22 full-time carer posts.

Mr Butland said it was unclear at this stage whether the money would be for existing services or new ones, but said it was extremely welcome news nevertheless.

Representatives of the children's hospice movement, who met Prime Minister Tony Blair just 10 days ago to discuss their funding needs, also welcomed the new cash as a vote of confidence in the sector.

Barbara Gelb, chief executive of the Association of Children's Hospices (ACH), said: “This announcement is a significant step forward in the Government's acknowledgement of the need for services to children who are going to die in childhood and their families.

“It is a vote of confidence in children's hospice services and the charity sector and will make a real difference to thousands of life-limited children and their families. We are absolutely delighted.”

Ms Gelb said the money would save England's 28 children's hospices from having to cut services in the short term and could enable them to help far more children, as well as developing new partnerships with local health and social services so that children and families can get the palliative care they want wherever they live.

She added: “ACH will be sitting down with the Department of Health to make sure the new money is spent wisely.”

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