Posted: Tue 25th Jan 2022

Funding boost a “lifeline for children and families”, say Wales’ children’s hospices

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Jan 25th, 2022

Extra funding from the Welsh Government has been described a “lifeline for children and families”, say Wales’ children’s hospices

Ty Hafan and Ty Gobaith children’s hospices are to receive £888k out of a £2.2m funding boost announced yesterday by Health Minister Eluned Morgan.

The remainder of the money will be shared by the adult hospice services across Wales.

This funding is on top of the £13.8m already allocated by the Welsh Government to support the sector and strengthen bereavement support throughout the pandemic.

The announcement is part of phase one of the end-of-life care review. The second phase will look at wider end-of-life care provision from April 2022, overseen by the new programme board for end-of-life care.

The funding has been allocated in the Welsh Government’s draft Budget and will be distributed on a recurring basis from April 2022 onwards.

Minister for Health and Social Services Eluned Morgan said: “Hospices are a critical part of our healthcare service in Wales, providing essential care to more than 20,000 people in Wales affected by terminal illnesses each year, helping to prevent avoidable admissions to hospital. More than 85% of that care is provided in the community.

“This has never been more needed than over the last two years when, throughout the pandemic, hospices have been there to support patients, families and carers through the most difficult of times in the most difficult of circumstances.

“We are committed to strengthening our focus on end-of-life care and we will continue to work closely with the new national programme board to drive actions across government and with stakeholders to improve end-of-life care services for all.”

Wales only two children’s hospices, Tŷ Gobaith and Tŷ Hafan, welcomed the announcement, which outlined the additional funding, jointly between the two hospices on a recurring basis – bringing funding in line proportionally with what children’s hospices in England receive.

The two hospices have also welcomed the decision to distribute this additional funding via the NHS Collaborative, ensuring that they have discretion over how the additional funding will be spent to benefit of Wales’ most vulnerable children and their families whom they support.

This is the first time additional statutory funding has been made available to Wales’ two children’s hospices since 2007.

This means both hospices will receive around 21 per cent of the costs of providing palliative care to children and families in Wales. Together with the fantastic support and continued generosity of the people and businesses of Wales, it is an important step in building towards a sustainable future for the hospices.

This will allow the hospices to recruit more nurses and to build more resilience into their services in the hospices and in the community. It will also enable the hospices to extend the breadth and depth of their services and to provide more respite care for those families who so desperately need it.

Welcoming the funding announcement, Andy Goldsmith, Chief Executive of Tŷ Gobaith Children’s Hospice, said: “I’d like to thank the Welsh Government to responding to our ask for fair and sustainable funding for Wales’ two children’s hospices.

“This increased funding is a major first step forward in ensuring the ‘Lifeline’ that children’s hospices provide is available for every child and family that needs us.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Welsh Government to fund and develop services to meet the growing and changing need for the specialist care and bereavement support that both Tŷ Gobaith and Tŷ Hafan provide in Wales.”

Chief Executive of Tŷ Hafan children’s hospice Maria Timon Samra said: “Together with Tŷ Gobaith we have been campaigning for a sustainable funding solution for Wales’ children’s hospices.

“We are delighted by the Welsh Government’s commitment to act on the recommendations of the hospice funding review, an important first step in achieving this goal.

“We thank the Minister, Eluned Morgan, Deputy Minster, Julie Morgan, and Members from across the Chamber, for their support for this Lifeline Fund, not forgetting those government officials who have also worked on this review.

“We look forward to continuing to work with them to create a Wales that is more compassionate and supports children with life-limiting conditions and their families for whom our hospices are often the only place they can receive crisis and respite care and support.”

Andy Fletcher, Chief Executive of Together for Short Lives, the UK’s children’s palliative care charity, added: “I welcome the Welsh Government’s decision to allocate this funding to Tŷ Hafan and Tŷ Gobaith.

“Children’s hospice care is a lifeline for thousands of seriously ill children and families across the UK, providing, short breaks for respite in an appropriate clinical setting, vital end of life care bereavement care and more.

“Every child and family in Wales who needs it should be able to choose to access children’s hospice care, safe in the knowledge that it is sustainably funded.”

Before the pandemic started, approximately two-thirds of hospices’ income came from fundraising activities.

The Welsh Government’s emergency funding of £13.8m was used to support hospices as they lost income from charitable activities; protect their core services and to strengthen bereavement support.

The end-of-life care review was led by a NHS Collaborative team which analysed information submitted by hospices and held regular meetings to keep them informed of progress.

Marie Curie Associate Director for Wales, Rachel Jones, said: “We are pleased to see the recognition of the continued challenges of hospice funding in Wales with this announcement today from the Health Minister and are grateful that the Welsh Government has worked in partnership with the sector to undertake this review.

“Over the past two years, we and our charity colleagues have faced an inability to carry out our usual fundraising activities, which rely so much on people being able to leave their homes and come together to support us in a variety of different ways. ”

“Now, at a time when our largest annual fundraiser, the Great Daffodil Appeal, is about to launch following two years of cancelled collections, this news is welcomed, but there is also more that needs to be done.  A sustainable model of funding – which does not rely on supermarket collections and bake sales – which allows everyone to have access to good end of life care is vital. ”

“With that in mind, Marie Curie looks forward to continuing to collaborate with the Welsh Government and our commissioners in health boards on the wider phase two review of funding for the rest of end of life care across Wales. ”

“We are fully committed to continuing to provide compassionate care to as many dying people as we can, serve the public, and support our colleagues in the NHS in Wales both through and after the pandemic.”

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