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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

AM raises concerns over hospice funding

North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood has made calls for the Welsh Government and Health Boards to provide more funding for charitable hospices in Wales.

Mr Isherwood raised the matter in the Assembly Chamber when he asked the First Minister how the Welsh Government is supporting the palliative care sector in Wales.

Carwyn Jones said his Government’s updated End-of-Life Care Delivery Plan, published in March, includes £6.4 million to provide specialist palliative care services, but Mr Isherwood said that is poorly targeted.

He said: “The majority of end-of-life care in Wales is provided by Wales’s 13 adult and two children’s hospices. You indicate a figure of roughly £6.4 million, but they spend £32.5 million a year to deliver those services in people’s homes, and also residential, day care and respite. So, they are having to raise over £2 million a month, and they’re keen to help you, the Welsh Government, and their local Health Boards do very much more.

“How can you, or will you, engage with them and ask them how they can help you achieve more? Perhaps a little bit more funding from the Health Boards and the (Welsh) Government would save massively more for Health Boards and liberate services to help tackle some of the other problems we’ve heard referred to today in different contexts.”

In his reply, the First Minister said: “In terms of engagement with the sector, it is the care boards that provide that level of engagement, and that’s why, of course, we work with them in order to identify the resources that are needed.”

Mr Isherwood added: “It is concerning that from April 2017 the funding provided by the Welsh Government to Local Health Boards to be spent on specialist palliative care is no longer ring fenced for this purpose. This means hospices risk losing this important financial contribution towards hospice care.
As Marie Curie’s Report ‘Triggers for Palliative Care in Wales’, said: ‘There is much work to be done if Wales is going to achieve its vision of access to high quality care for everyone who needs it, regardless of their underlying condition."

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