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Palliative Care: Children

Volume 472: debated on Monday 25 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what funding has been included in primary care trust allocations for 2008-09 in order to enable them to meet the new children's palliative care strategy in (i) building a sustainable service of palliative care networks, including children's hospice services and (ii) supporting community nursing teams; and if he will make a statement. (187979)

General allocations to primary care trusts (PCTs) are not broken down into funding for individual services. It is for PCTs to decide how best to resource the priorities set out in the national health service operating framework for 2008-09.

Section two of the operating framework under ‘Priorities’ states

“disabled children: identifying actions and setting local targets on improving the experience of, and ranges of services for, children with disabilities and complex health needs and their families. This includes significantly increasing the range of short breaks, improving the quality and experience of palliative care services, improving access to therapies and supporting effective transition to adult services.”

On 19 February, we launched the first ever national strategy for children's palliative care, ‘Better Care: Better Lives’. The strategy will assist local commissioners, providers and regulators in devising local strategies to enable every child and young person with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition access to high-quality, family- centred, sustainable care and support with services provided in a setting of choice according to the child's and family's wishes. It sets out clear expectations for improving choice, access and continuity of care, and seeks to place palliative care at the centre of local children's service provision.

We also announced an additional £20 million in funding to enable the children's hospices and hospice at home grant to continue in 2009-10 and 2010-11 with £10 million available in each year.