14/12/2010

Hospice Care Gets Assembly Focus

Care for those with life-limiting illnesses is being supported in Northern Ireland with Stormont Health Minister, Michael McGimpsey confirming that he will continue to fund hospice services across NI.

The Minister was speaking during an Assembly debate that called for funding for hospices services in Northern Ireland to be in line with Scotland.

He said: "I want to put on record how valuable the contribution the hospices make to providing palliative care services for people in Northern Ireland.

"In Northern Ireland, the health service provides a total of over £5.5m in funding to all hospices across Northern Ireland including over £2m to the NI Hospice, almost £1m to the Southern Hospice, almost £300,000 to Foyle and over £1.6m to Marie Curie," he said.

Turning to funding for children's hospice services, the Minister said had shown a history of strong financial and personal support for their work.

"I have stepped in to provide additional funding when this has been requested.

"I have been the first Minister to secure ongoing funding for the Children's Hospice including a recurrent grant of £210,000 in 2008 and, earlier this year, a further £245,000.
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"This is in addition to funding from the Board and Trusts which brings the total funding to almost £600,000," he explained.

"It was at the request of the Chief Executive of the Children's Hospice last August that I made the additional £245,000 funding available.

"This brings their level of funding up to around 20% of their total costs. This figure compares to 15% of total costs for children’s hospice in England."

Concluding, the Minister said that while children's hospice services in Scotland are funded at a level of 25%, that is only 25% of the cost of inpatient services and does not include the cost of providing care in the child's home.

He said: "Care in a child's home is a very significant part of palliative care services for children in Northern Ireland.

"Therefore we are not comparing like with like because in Northern Ireland we fund a broader range of services than in Scotland. We actually fund 20% of all care delivered in the hospice itself, as well as 20% of all care provided in a child's home - this is not the range of services that are provided in Scotland.

"I have also invested in services for children with complex needs. Over the past three years I have allocated an additional £8m to support these children through support nursing services, therapy provision and other essential care and support."

(BMcC/KMcA)

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