Local MP takes hospice funding crisis to the top

May 8, 2008 5:13 PM
Terry and Mark

Terry and Mark outside the House of Commons before meeting the Prime Minister

Cheadle MP Mark Hunter with Mr Terry McDonnell the Chief Executive of St Ann's Hospice in Heald Green, and Worsley, Salford, yesterday led a delegation of MPs to meet with Gordon Brown the Prime Minister regarding the funding crisis currently facing many hospices across the country.

Terry and Mark 2

Terry and Mark walking into the House of Commons to meet the Prime Minister

The meeting was requested by Mr Hunter during Prime Minister's Questions after discussing the financial difficulties facing hospices like St Ann's with Mr McDonnell.

During the meeting with the Prime Minister and Minister for Health Ivan Lewis MP, constructive dialogue took place culminating in the assurance that the 'End of Life Care Strategy' and the Darzi Review of the NHS to be published this summer would make it clear that End of Life Care would be a priority for Primary Care Trusts. Mr Lewis also said that where hospices provide core NHS services the NHS will ensure that they are appropriately reimbursed.

Following the meeting Mark Hunter said: "I am cautiously optimistic about the outcome of this meeting. Both the Prime Minister and the Minister for Health assured us that they will resolve this issue, but we now want to see this being followed by urgent action on the Government's part.

"At present the Government provides only one third of the total funding required to keep out hospices going. The other two thirds they have to raise for themselves.

"The Government must act now and with the forthcoming publication of their new 'End of Life Care' strategy and the Darzi Review they have an ideal opportunity to address the funding shortfall."

Mr McDonnell added: "This was an excellent opportunity for hospices to put their case to the Prime Minister and I'm very glad that Mr Hunter requested it.

"Why should the public continue to subsidise a public service providing core, essential care for patients which the NHS would otherwise have to provide?

"In the case of St Ann's Hospice, this funding gap amounts to £6million a year, or £16,000 per day which has to be raised by charitable donations."

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