Health written question – answered on 4th February 2002.

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Photo of Mr Nigel Beard Mr Nigel Beard Labour, Bexleyheath and Crayford

To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reasons hospices for children receive less financial support per patient from Government than hospices for adults; and if he will take steps to bring funding for the two into line.

Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

Children's hospices are a relatively new concept in the overall provision of services for children with life threatening illnesses. In some cases the role they play in local provision is not as well established as that of adult hospices. They need to consult with and establish links with the commissioners of health care provision within their catchment area in order to secure funding.

In order to assist this process, we issued guidance in February 1998, "Evaluation of the Pilot Project Programme for Children with Life Threatening Illnesses" which addresses the range of options available, including hospice care. In addition, regional offices of the Department have been asked to work with health professionals and agencies to identify current service provision and any gaps in this provision, with a view to encouraging a better strategic fit.

As we develop the National Service Framework (NSF) for children we will consider the needs of disabled children, including those whose disability is sadly of a life threatening nature and for whom respite care at a children's hospice is the option of choice. In the meantime, and within the next two months, the New Opportunities Fund will be inviting applications for funding for projects in support of children with life threatening illnesses. Children's hospices are eligible to apply.

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