§ Mr. Baldry
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what contribution he is prepared to make to the costs of voluntary hospices.
§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
There will be a substantial increase in funds to health authorities next year, so that they can contribute more to the voluntary hospice 847W movement. We are allocating £8 million to health authorities in 1990–91, specifically earmarked for terminal care provided by voluntary organisations. This will bring the total contribution from public funds up to nearly £20 million a 70 per cent. increase over the 1988–89 figure. Health authorities will use this money to increase the contribution they already make to voluntary hospices and similar organisations which provide palliative care and support for patients with terminal illnesses and their families.
These extra funds are a clear mark of the Government's strong support for the hospice movement. They are also an important step towards creating a closer partnership between the NHS and the movement. The Government's objective is to work towards a position in which the contribution from public funds available to voluntary hospices and similar organisations matches that of voluntary giving. This will provide a clear basis on which to plan ahead.
We are deeply appreciative of the high standard of continuing care that has been developed and provided by the independent hospice movement and welcome its growing partnership with the National Health Service in caring for people who are terminally ill and their families.