Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged an extra £25 million for hospices and community services offering palliative care in England, in order to help alleviate workforce pressures within the sector and to prevent hospices around the country from closing.

The announcement follows a campaign from Hospice UK Chief Executive Tracey Bleakley and the company Chair Robert Peston as the palliative care sector is currently heavily reliant on charities for funding. The extra £25 million that is pledged for 2019/20 will be funded from existing budgets, the Government confirmed.

It will support around 200,000 people at the end of their lives as well as supporting tens of thousands of family members with bereavement support, according to the Government. The money will go towards relieving workforce pressures as well as introducing new services such as out-of-hours support, respite care and specialist community teams.

Boris Johnson announced at a reception at Downing Street: “As Prime Minister I am making sure that today our hospices and palliative care services are given a £25 million boost to alleviate the everyday pressures faced on the frontline, helping to ensure they have the resources they need, when they need them".

Robert Peston explained that many hospices and palliative care providers were facing acute financial pressures and were struggling to meet the growing need for their desperately important services. He said: "This injection of new funds by the Government could not have come at a more critical time. It will help many, but it will not completely alleviate the serious funding problems facing a swelling number of charitable hospices."

Tracey Bleakley said: “While this funding boost is welcome and timely, many charitable hospices are facing grave, financial challenges in the long-term and need to raise over £1 billion a year in a very tough fundraising climate. As demand grows and costs increase, the need for funding rises every year.

"The support pledged today is an important first step to help protect the vital care provided by charitable hospices for people with life-limiting conditions and their families.”

Following the announcement, Northern Ireland (NI) Hospice Chief Executive Heather Weir expressed disappointment that "no financial support will be extended to Northern Ireland and to the 4000 people who need our services each year".

The majority of its costs are met through charitable donations, while 30% is through statutory funding. Heather Weir said that, in the absence of a Northern Ireland Executive, she and her colleagues have been dealing directly with MPs to raise awareness of the need for extra funding, although none has been forthcoming. She said: "It is a huge shame and an injustice to people living in Northern Ireland with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions that the province is not receiving the same level of financial support as elsewhere in the UK for palliative care services."

Last reviewed 27 August 2019