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Thursday, September 29, 2016
Cardinal challenges government funding of hospice care
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¬†In his opening address to Help The Hospices Annual National Conference, held yesterday at the Royal Lancaster Gate Hotel in London, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, challenged the National Health Service about discrepancies in funding offered to independent hospices up and down the country. The Cardinal's short address began by recognising that "all individuals need to belong to some form of small community." He pointed out that, in his opinion, "small communities are the secret, not only for the future of the Church, but also for the general health of our society. Such communities, especially in times of illness and uncertainty, can be the source of new inspiration and of new hope, even when death is close at hand." The Cardinal welcomed the promise made by the government in their NHS Cancer Plan that "by the year 2004 the NHS intends to invest an extra £50 million to end inequalities in access to specialist palliative care" thereby enabling the NHS "to make a realistic contribution to the cost that hospices incur in providing agreed levels of service". He expressed concern, however, that "there remains a distinct and fundamental mismatch between the NHS acceptance of palliative care as a core health service responsibility and the reality of funding arrangements for hospice care around the UK." He praised the interminable efforts made by all those involved in the hospice movement and commended the fact that "over £200 million of funding was raised by volunteers through a variety of fundraising activities, with the government providing 30% of funding for adult hospices and 5% for children's hospices". The Cardinal listed his own hopes for the future of the hospice movement, namely that: * the government will hear and respond to the voices of the 185 independent charitable hospices and consider providing a more realistic and secure contribution in their basic funding which, in turn, will provide the government with the opportunity for sound future planning; * there will be even more advances in the very genuine partnership that already exists between the NHS and the hospice movement, working together to meet the needs of patients. For more information on Help The Hospices, visit: www.helpthehospices.org.uk source: Archbishop's House
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