MP speaks out for more funding for local hospice

January 31, 2008 10:59 AM
St Ann's Hospice

Mark outside St Ann's Hospice in Heald Green

Mark Hunter, Member of Parliament for the Cheadle Constituency today spoke out in the House of Commons in support of St Ann's hospice in Heald Green, and called on the Government to stem the hospice funding crisis that is facing so many hospices today.

St Ann's is one of the largest hospices in the country with 60 inpatient beds and is free to the public as part of the NHS. However, because it is a charitable foundation the Government only supplies one third of the £9 million it takes to run the hospice each year. St Ann's therefore has to raise £16,000 per day just to keep itself open.

Charitable hospices provide 80% of adult in-patient palliative care beds (on the NHS); yet most hospices have had their funding reduced in real terms over the last few years leaving 28% of independent hospices in deficit in 2006. Without hospices such as St Ann's the NHS would have to provide for this palliative care themselves, yet hospices do not get the same funding deal as other NHS providers.

Commenting Mark Hunter MP said: "I have visited St Ann's Hospice on many occasions, and have seen for myself in both a public and personal capacity the truly exceptional work that hospices do and the difference that hospice provision makes for those in need of palliative care and their families.

Palliative care is a core service for patients. It is not and never has been an optional add-on. If these independent hospices cease to exist the NHS would have no option but to pick up the slack. The Government should address this funding shortfall before it is too late. We do not want to see excellent hospices such as St Ann's and others being unable to continue because of the Government's short-sighted funding arrangements.

I have therefore called on the Government to fulfil their pledge to improve hospice funding by including it in the End of Life Care Strategy."

Last year Mr Hunter tabled an Early Day Motion in Parliament supporting the work of St Ann's Hospice and calling for fairer funding. The EDM received the support of MPs from all parties.

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