Local MP for Cheadle constituency, Mark Hunter, put the Prime Minister on the spot yesterday by asking him about funding for hospices during weekly Prime Minister’s Question time.
In the House of Commons, Mark said:
“Will the Prime Minister join me in paying tribute to the many dedicated health professionals who work at St Ann’s Hospice in my Cheadle constituency? Does he agree with me that the decision to devolve £6 billion NHS spending to Greater Manchester presents a tremendous opportunity to better integrate healthcare services and secure a more positive long-term funding arrangement for our local hospices?”
In response, the Prime Minister said:
“…I’m a parent who used a hospice…regularly, and was absolutely amazed by the brilliant work that they do… I would welcome both that NHS money is being made more available to hospices….and also the Greater Manchester decision I think is a way of making sure decisions are made between local authorities and the NHS and are made closer to the patients they’re serving.”
Commenting afterwards, Mark said:
‘I know well the outstanding work that the staff of St Ann’s Hospice do for people when they are at their most vulnerable, at their hour of need. The recent decision to devolve NHS funding to Greater Manchester provides a rare chance to make end of life care more integrated and hospices to be better supported financially.’
Jayne Bessant, Chief Executive of St Ann’s Hospice, said:
‘It is really encouraging to hear hospice care and funding discussed at such a high level and any plans to improve care by allowing commissioning decisions to be taken locally would certainly be welcome.
‘However, it’s extremely important that hospices and other voluntary sector organisations across Greater Manchester are given a voice in any new governing group. Hospices provide significant support to the NHS, not only helping patients who come to us for support and care in the last days of their life, but also by providing ongoing social care and ongoing symptom management that would otherwise fall to the NHS to manage. With only a third of our funding currently provided by the NHS, the money we need to raise each day to keep St Ann’s open equates to around £16,000 – but the money we save the NHS by providing care and services for thousands of people at one of the most vulnerable times of their life is much, much more.”
Mark Hunter MP is a long-term supporter of St Ann’s Hospice, recently welcoming Norman Lamb MP, the Minister of State for Care and Support, to meet with staff, and having asked a question on funding for hospices to the Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, the previous Prime Minister in 2008.