St Oswald’s Hospice joins calls to UK Government and NHS England to maintain lifeline funding

We’re supporting an England-wide campaign to #SaveTheGrant after NHS England announced it would end the Children’s Hospice Grant next year.

The grant is a vital source of funding for children’s palliative care services, which offer a lifeline to children, young people and their families across England. It also helps hospices across the country take the pressure off the NHS to meet the needs of a growing population of babies, children and young adults with life-limiting conditions.

Together for Short Lives, which launched the campaign during Children’s Hospice Week (19th – 25th June), estimates that there is a £300 million funding gap in the children’s care sector of England, and warns the end of this key source of funding could have “potentially devastating consequences for children, families and the NHS.”

On Tuesday 20th June, Together for Short Lives, along with representatives from children’s hospices across England (pictured above), invited MPs and Ministers to a round table meeting to discuss the future of the grant.

Andy Fletcher, Chief Executive of UK-wide children’s palliative care charity Together for Short Lives, said:

“Together with hospices like St Oswald’s across England, we have been calling on the Government and NHS England to maintain the grant, which is a vital source of funding for hospices. We are grateful to the MPs and Ministers who took the time yesterday to speak to us in Westminster and hear our concerns about the grant ending, the challenges of distributing the grant through Integrated Care Boards, and the worrying consequences that would have for families who rely on these vital services.”

Our hospice has been providing short breaks and end-of-life care to babies, children and young adults across the North East for more than 20 years. We recognise the detrimental impact any cut in key funding sources could make on the quality of care it provides.

Our Chief Executive Officer, Steph Edusei, says:

“At St Oswald’s Hospice, our team of specialist medical and support staff pride themselves on offering an exceptionally high level of care and support to everyone who comes through our doors, but we recognise that maintaining such standards does come at a cost.”

“The Children’s Hospice Grant forms a significant part of our annual charitable funding and, should it be withdrawn, it could impact our ability to provide our holistic programme of care, which combines specialist medical care with an exciting array of activities and events for our children, young adults and their families to enjoy.”

The proposed end of the grant could affect families like Stephen Pape, whose daughter, Sophie, 14, has been attending monthly short breaks at our Hospice’s Children and Young Adult Service since 2016.

We have teamed up with Stephen to create a series of moving films that show what Sophie – who has severe cerebral palsy and epilepsy – and her dad get from their visits to the Hospice.

Stephen says:

“Sophie gets a lot out of coming to St Oswald’s Hospice. She’s treated like a princess and gets to do activities that other people might take for granted.

“For example, it’s a challenge to take Sophie swimming but when we go to the hydrotherapy pool with St Oswald’s Hospice, all the logistics are taken care of.

“Sophie and I are looking forward to going surfing soon, which is something that I never imagined we’d be able to do.”

Steph continues:

“I can’t thank Stephen enough for sharing his and Sophie’s story. Families are always passionately telling us about the difference we make to their lives – and seeing the smile on Sophie’s face as she enjoys time in our accessible playground and the other activities makes the work we do so worthwhile.

“It is for this reason that St Oswald’s Hospice is supporting Together for Short Lives’ #SaveTheGrant campaign.

“We would urge UK Government and NHS England to prioritise making sure a steady pipeline of funding is available to hospices across England so we can maintain the fantastic work that we do collectively.”

Together for Short Lives has launched a petition and is urging people to sign to save the Children’s Hospice Grant from ending in 2024.

Sign the petition here.

Sophie and Stephen_Garden_1

Want to find out more about Stephen and Sophie?

You can see all the full series of films about Stephen and Sophie below.

Want to support the care and special moments we give to children like Sophie?

To make a donation to St Oswald’s Hospice, text CHILDRENS to 70450 to donate £5 now.

Texts will cost the donation amount plus one standard network rate message, and you’ll be opting into hearing more from us. If you would like to donate but don’t wish to hear more from us, please text CHILDRENSNOINFO instead.

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