Health secretary Andrew Lansley has today pledged £30m of government funds to children’s palliative care projects.
The funding, which will be made available this year, will be given to children’s hospices, networks and other local providers that help children with life threatening or life limiting conditions.
Former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health Sir Alan Craft will chair a panel to consider bids for the funds, which will be used to help address variation in the availability of children’s palliative care services and issues around their sustainability.
The extra funds were initially announced in April this year but were put on hold while the new coalition government conducted a comprehensive review of all spending decisions taken by the previous administration since 1 January 2010.
Announcing the funding ahead of a visit to East Anglia Children’s Hospices in Milton today, Mr Lansley said it “demonstrates the government’s commitment” to improving children’s palliative care, but is “only part of the picture”.
“In the long run we need to introduce a per-patient funding system for all hospices and other providers of palliative care so that proper support for sick children and adults can develop,” he said.
Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health president professor Terence Stephenson said the move was an “important financial investment in children’s health”.
“We welcome the contribution it will make towards enabling children and young people to receive palliative and hospice care at home, putting the patients and their family first,” he said.