All Primary Care Trusts will this week receive their share of the extra ten million pounds for specialist palliative care unveiled by the Health Secretary last month.Public Health Minister Hazel Blears told a Help the Hospices conference the funding has now been allocated on a capitation basis and PCTs had been given clear instructions on how it should be spent. The trusts will have to work with local Cancer Networks, the voluntary sector and statutory partners, as well as patients and carers. Strategic Health Authorities have also been asked to provide reports showing how the money is being spent.
Christine Shaw, Director of Policy and Communication at Help the Hospices said, ” This funding will be of direct benefit to hospices that, in some cases, are struggling to keep existing services for patients and families up and running. We believe that it signals a new climate of engagement and debate between the Department of Health and voluntary sector providers of hospice care.”
Peter Tebbit, of the National Council for Hospice and Specialist Palliative Care Services welcomed the guidance given by the Department of Health.
” We are particularly pleased at the collaborative approach taken by the Department in working with the National Council and its voluntary sector partners in developing the guidance. This augurs well for future discussions on longer term issues around the funding of specialist palliative care,” he said.
The money allocated this week is in support of the NHS Cancer Plan commitment to invest an extra fifty million pounds a year in specialist palliative care by 2004.