I agree that we must ensure that people receive the most appropriate care personalised to their individual needs as they approach the end of their life.
The NHS Long Term Plan, prepared by the NHS and published in 2019, builds on previous commitments made by the Government to personalise care through informed conversations between healthcare professionals and dying people.
Part of this is a commitment to help people to live independently for longer, as well as a promise to give more people more say about the care they receive and where they receive it, particularly towards the end of their lives. I believe empowering people with terminal conditions in this way will better enable them to access palliative care when and where they most need it.
The establishment of the Personalised Care Institute has made training available to help staff identify and support patients and to introduce personalised care planning for everyone identified as being in their last year of life. Importantly, this enables meaningful conversations to take place and allows staff to help patients and families, address their concerns and to explain the breadth of services available in the local area.
On the funding of hospices, NHS England and NHS Improvement have recently provided funding to support seven strategic clinical networks to deliver palliative and end of life care. The Health and Care Act will also require Integrated Care Boards to commission palliative care and end of life services.
Through the NHS Long Term Plan, NHS England will also increase its contribution to the national children’s hospice grant by match-funding CCGs who commit to increase their investment in local children’s palliative and end of life care services – this will provide an estimated £25 million a year by 2023-24.
I recognise the importance of palliative and end of life care services, including hospices. The hospice sector has played a vital role in the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic and received up to £280 million of additional funding from March 2020 to March 2021.
I am encouraged that the Department for Health and Social Care and the NHS proactively engage with the whole sector to understand the issues they face. Most hospices are independent, charitable organisations but do receive some funding, mainly from clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), for providing local services. CCGs will have an understanding of future demand and associated funding requirements.
There are seven regional Palliative and End of Life Care Strategic Clinical Networks working closely with CCGs and integrated care systems to understand the needs, sustainability and future commissioning of palliative and end of life care services.
Finally, I welcome the Hospice UK Parliamentary Event on 6 July 2022. Unfortunately, I am unable to attend the event but would appreciate any briefing that Hospice UK have on this important topic, and I would be interested in meeting with people from my constituency who have lost loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.