NAOMI House & Jacksplace has welcomed the announcement that NHS England is increasing the vital children’s hospice grant from £11million to £25million, better enabling hospices across England to support seriously ill children.

This increase forms part of NHS England’s long term plan and follows a campaign spearheaded by the UK children’s palliative care charity Together for Short Lives with significant support from Naomi House & Jacksplace, in which over 6,500 people joined the call for more sustainable funding for hospices in England.

Together for Short Lives’ #fundnotfail campaign, launched in summer 2018, called on the government to increase the children’s hospice grant to £25million, provide parity of statutory funding between children’s and adult hospices, and introduce a children’s palliative care strategy.

Staff at Naomi House & Jacksplace have been working with MPs to highlight the need for increased funding and to illustrate the growing complexity of children’s hospice care.

This included a Parliamentary Reception, hosted by Steve Brine MP, junior health minister, where Ministers and MPs heard from families that had received care at Naomi House & Jacksplace, as well as the charity’s staff, trustees and patron Alastair Stewart.

As part of the NHS long term plan, additional funding will be available each year over the next five years, increasing by up to £7m a year by 2023/24, if clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) also provide additional match funding.

Naomi House & Jacksplace needs to raise more than £8.5 million each year to deliver a full service, and less than 15 per cent of that income comes from Government or statutory funding. Across England as a whole, children’s hospices received on average just 22 per cent of their funding from statutory sources in 2016/17, compared to 33 per cent for adult hospices. Hospices rely on donations and fundraising for the remainder of their costs.

Naomi House & Jacksplace, opened in 1997 in Sutton Scotney, currently cares for more than 520 local families. The hospices provide respite, emergency, end of life and post bereavement care to children, young adults and their families from across Hampshire, Wiltshire, Dorset, Berkshire, West Sussex, Surrey and the Isle of Wight.

The funding will enable children’s hospices like Naomi House & Jacksplace to maintain and develop their services for the most complex children, and in doing so help reduce pressure on the NHS, keeping children out of hospital longer and supporting the wider family.

Mark Smith, chief executive of Naomi House, said: “This is welcome news for Naomi House & Jacksplace and the wider children’s hospice sector in England. Naomi House & Jacksplace are caring for more children and young adults than ever before, and those we care for are increasingly medically complex. In addition we are developing new and innovative services that enable us to reach more families in need of support. We would like to thank the numerous MPs and government ministers who have visited Naomi House & Jacksplace or attended our Parliamentary Reception this year.”