Derian House Children’s Hospice has vowed to open its doors to help families affected by the planned closure of a children’s hospice in Bury, announced yesterday.
Forget Me Not at Grace’s Place is currently caring for 17 families from across the Greater Manchester area. But if plans go ahead, will close its doors in August.
The charity blamed insufficient funding from the NHS which has left it in an “unsustainable position”.
Earlier this year, both Zoe’s Place in Liverpool and Shooting Stars Children’s Hospices in the south-east announced cuts to services, and last month Acorns in Walsall announced it is set to close this autumn due to the rising cost of delivering care.
David Robinson, Chief Executive of Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “We were saddened to hear about the planned closure of Forget Me Not at Grace’s Place children’s hospice facility in Bury.
“The news of any of our fellow children’s hospices falling into financial difficulties is always unsettling and we send our support to the families, management, staff, volunteers and trustees at Grace’s Place.
“We would like to reassure families affected by this closure, who find themselves in a position of need, that we will do all we can to accommodate them. We have a robust referrals process and will fast-track any referrals from these families.
“Derian House has been open for 26 years, and through good financial planning and the generous support of our community, we are in a strong position to maintain services long into the future, so we want to reassure the families we support that they need not worry.
“However, we are in a similar position to all children’s hospices in that the funding from NHS England and the 18 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in our area, is woefully inadequate and in some cases we receive no funding at all. It costs us more than £4million every year to look after more than 400 children and young people with life-limiting conditions and just 7.8 per cent of this comes from these statutory sources.
“As leaders in children’s palliative care, our hospice has to maintain the same high standards as a NHS hospital, and we must adhere to the same rigorous regulations. It is, therefore, scandalous that more than 90 per cent of our funding comes from bucket collections and bake sales. How can this be right?
“The government and local authorities are good at making promises, holding meetings and producing aspirational documents about the future of children’s hospices, but these ideas need to be put into action. The time to talk is over.
“The government needs to take positive and immediate action to secure proper funding for all children’s hospices in the UK. If not, the shutting down of Acorns in Walsall, Grace’s Place in Bury and recent news about reducing services from Zoe’s Place and Shooting Stars could just be the beginning.
“The latest news about the NHS England pledge of £25million for children’s hospices by 2023/24 is promising, however this does not solve the immediate issue.”