MP calls on Health Minister to intervene over hospice funding crisis in South Cumbria and Lancashire

On the 14th of June in Parliament, local MP Tim Farron urged the Health Minister Helen Whately to intervene over a funding crisis facing hospices in Cumbria and Lancashire.

It comes as Lancashire and South Cumbria hospices have been informed that the local Integrated Care Board has offered them a 0% uplift on their 2022-23 funding.

This stands in contrast to other regions where hospices have received an average uplift of 2.7%

Speaking during a Westminster Hall debate, Tim read out a letter from the Chief Executive of St Mary’s Hospice in Ulverston, Val Stangoe, which said that the “0% uplift equates to almost 10% in cuts” and that the decision has “left our hospices in a state of financial deficit, with potential loss of hospice beds and services”.

Speaking in Parliament, Tim said: “St Mary’s Hospice at Ulverston, St John’s at Lancaster, and the Eden Valley Hospice at Carlisle provide between them tender, professional specialist, expert care for those with life-limiting conditions and their loved ones.

“Something which we are so grateful for proving that life has dignity from beginning to end.

“And hospitals, however marvellous they are, do not have the resources to replicate that care if it is not provided in hospice situations.

“What we need to remember is that the costs of running a hospice have gone through the roof in recent times.

“The disproportionate treatment faced by hospices in our community is unfair and must be addressed.

“Of course ICBs aren’t elected and the minister is.

“So my fundamental ask of the minister is will she directly get herself involved in that situation to prevent our hospices in Cumbria suffering the way they do?

In response, Helen Whately MP, the Minister responsible for end of life care said: “Well I’m not going to commit to getting involved in a specific conversation between a specific hospice and a specific ICB. I don’t think that would be appropriate or the right thing for me to do as a minister.

“I have been seeking transparency about the extent to which some of that funding has or has not gone to hospices.

“And I have been seeking the data on what is going on with the rates that are being paid to hospices, the extent to which they have or have not gone up so we can have the transparency of the extent to which the funding that has gone to Integrated Care Boards to support with inflation, is going to hospices to help with services.”

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