Hospice boss '˜disappointed' over decision to freeze funding

The boss at Brian House Children's Hospice in Bispham said he is '˜disappointed' funding from the government has not increased.

Thursday, 23rd March 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:08 am
Trinity Hospice in Bispham

The hospice, which provides vital support for youngsters with serious, life-limiting illnesses and their families, were hoping to get more help towards its annual running costs of around £1.25 million.

But, despite pleas from national charity Together for Short Lives, NHS commissioners have confirmed the formula for calculating grants will remain unchanged.

It means the money Brian House gets from the NHS will remain at £195,254 – leaving a seven-figure shortfall.

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Brian House’s chief executive David Houston said: “Yes, we are disappointed and we must hope that, over the next two years, we will be able to raise more funds locally to support the work at Brian House.

“We will continue to discuss what support the local CCGs (clinical commissioning groups, responsible to organising and paying for residents’ healthcare) might be able to provide, but we recognise all too well that this conversation is taking place against the most challenging times for NHS funding that many people have ever known.”

The hospice currently receives no funding from the CCG or council, while council cuts in social funding have also had an impact, it said.

In a letter to Together for Short Lives’ chief executive Barbara Gelb, NHS England’s director of strategic finance Sam Higginson said: “There would be winners but also losers under a new formula which could result in significant reduction in funding.”

She said she appreciates freezing funding for the next two years will be ‘extremely disappointing’, but said: “I feel that developing opportunities for hospices to secure funding from local commissioners … should be explored fully, as this potentially offers greater opportunity than competing for additional funds from the diminishing (and vastly smaller) central programme budgets of NHS England.”

However, in the past year Blackpool CCG has had to axe a number of treatments in the face of increased demand and a requirement to save £6.4m.