Ipswich MP seeks more government support for children’s hospices

Sandy Martin's bill supports children's hospices like the Ipswich Treehouse. Picture: EACH

Sandy Martin's bill supports children's hospices like the Ipswich Treehouse. Picture: EACH - Credit: cont

Ipswich MP Sandy Martin has sponsoring a debate in the House of Commons aimed at trying to increase government support for children’s hospices around the country.

The Labour MP has attracted support from Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Democratic Unionist MPs for his Early Day Motion calling on the government to increase support to children’s hospices across the country by £25m.

It points out that while adult hospices receive 33% of their funding from the government, for children’s hospices across the country the figure is just 22% – they rely on charitable funding for the vast majority of their funding.

By increasing funding by £25m it would push this proportion up by 14% – which in turn would produce much greater savings to the NHS as a whole.

The debate is expected to be heard in the House of Commons soon – although Early Day Motions do not usually lead directly to new legislation.

Mr Martin said: “After seeing the wonderful work done at the Treehouse in Ipswich, and at the St Elizabeth Hospice, it is clear that funding arrangements should be the same for hospice care across the country.

“Given the amount of pressure they take off the NHS, I feel that hospice services should be provided by the state with charitable donations as an add-on, but I’m aware the government would not agree to that.

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“But this increase is something that should get widespread support and it would make a big difference to hospices like the Treehouse in Ipswich which gets fantastic support from local people.”

The umbrella group for children’s hospices from around the country has launched a petition to pressure the government.

Graham Butland, EACH Chief Executive, said: “We’ve been encouraging our staff and supporters to sign a petition for fairer funding led by Together for Short Lives, the umbrella charity for UK children’s hospices, so we’re obviously delighted Mr Martin has recognised how important it is the government allocates more funds to lifeline children’s palliative care services.

“The Treehouse is, of course, very much part of the community in Ipswich, doing extraordinary work for over 250 children, young people and family members in and around Mr Martin’s constituency.”