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Children's Hospices

Volume 407: debated on Friday 20 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many children's hospices there are; what central Government funding is available for hospices; and what moneys are ring-fenced; [119563](2) what the responsibilities are of primary care trusts toward children's hospices; what the role of the Department is in the allocation of funding; and whether there are established minimum levels of funding that must be provided to primary care trusts for children's hospices. [119565]

There are currently 28 children's hospices in England, with another 11 at various stages of planning. Government funding for children's hospices is available from primary care trusts (PCTs), which are responsible for deciding which health services the local population requires and ensuring the provision of these services. The money is not ring-fenced. In addition, £48 million has been made available by the New Opportunities Fund for their children's palliative care grant programme, including hospice provision for England, which is ring-fenced.PCTs receive a baseline funding allocation from the Department of Health. There are no minimum levels for funding hospices. It is for individual PCTs to decide the level of funding they allocate to children's palliative care services, including services provided by children's hospices. The Department has issued guidance on provision and the options available to meet demand—"Evaluation of the Pilot Project Programme for Children with Life Threatening Illness"—and is currently considering further guidance under the national service framework for children, young people and maternity services, which will be published next year.