HC Deb 20 March 1990 vol 169 cc1003-5
12. Mr. Malcolm Bruce

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a further statement on funding for the hospice movement.

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley

We have now issued guidelines to health authorities on the distribution of the additional £8 million that we have allocated for 1990–91 to enable them to contribute more to the voluntary hospice movement. These measures underline our commitment to the hospice movement. We very much value the standard of care that it has developed and the comfort that it has brought to the dying and their families.

Mr. Bruce

I thank the Minister for her reply. Given that 60 per cent. of all terminally ill patients are still treated in NHS general wards, that there is clearly a growing demand for hospice care and that some hospices are finding difficulty meeting their obligations, will the hon. Lady undertake to keep the situation closely under review and to increase the allocation of funds if the need arises, as many hospice organisations are saying that it will?

Mrs. Bottomley

There is a great deal of work within the National Health Service providing care for the terminally ill and the dying. Our contribution was intended particularly to give assistance to the voluntary hospice movement, which has done excellent and pioneering work in providing comfort and dignity for the dying. Certainly we hope to move towards a fairer partnership between the public support for the dying and the voluntary hospice movement.

Mr. Hannam

Will my hon. Friend confirm that some 36 new hospices are now being planned by the NHS and the voluntary sector, including one in my constituency on a site provided by the local health authority? Is not that a welcome sign of the improving co-ordination between the NHS and the voluntary sector?

Mrs. Bottomley

It is very important that the NHS and the voluntary sector plan together. That is why the £8 million is being distributed through the health authorities, to encourage better planning and the provision of dignity and proper care for the terminally ill.

Mr. Alfred Morris

Why is the matched giving for hospitals in Scotland, pound for pound of charitable funding, not available elsewhere? When will it be available in England and Wales? Is the Minister aware that more hospices could then give more help to more people at home for whom there is no residential accommodation available and that more could be done to help bereaved families, not least bereaved children?

Mrs. Bottomley

I fully endorse the points made by the right hon. Gentleman about the importance of the hospice movement, for the bereaved family and children as much as for the patients themselves. I am pleased to have been able to announce the 70 per cent. increase in public funds for hospices this year and we have made it clear that we hope that health authorities will move towards an equal partnership with the voluntary hospice movement.

Mr. Sumberg

Is my hon. Friend aware that 36 new hospices are planned in the coming year in the public and the voluntary sector and that one of them is in my constituency? Will my hon. Friend join me in congratulating the people of Bury on raising all the money to build and equip this excellent facility?

Mrs. Bottomley

I join my hon. Friend in congratulating his constituents most warmly on raising the money for that voluntary hospice. It is a magnificent example of what can be achieved for the terminally ill and the dying.

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