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Acorns Hospice: Three days on, NHS bosses stay silent

By Heather Large | Walsall | Health | Published:

NHS England has been unable to clarify the situation surrounding future funding for Walsall's Acorns children's hospice despite repeated requests for information.

The Express & Star first contacted the public body after news of Acorns' plight first broke on Tuesday morning.

But despite promises of providing a statement about the future of the Children's Hospice Grant, as of last night, NHS England had failed to respond.

A factor in Acorns' decision to propose the closure of the Walsall hospice was the uncertainty over the future of the Children's Hospice Grant.

This currently provides Acorns with £1.2 million a year which has been "totally crucial" to its ability to deliver care from three sites.

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But the charity has been unable to get a firm guarantee from either NHS England or ministers about whether that this will continue beyond March 2020 as a review of the system was being carried out.

The charity's partnerships with the NHS bring in 37 per cent of its total funding.

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The NHS has previously announced plans to double its support to children’s palliative and end of life care services including hospices, from £11 million up to a combined total of £25 million a year by 2023/24.

But despite being asked for clarification three days ago on how this might affect Acorns, NHS England has so far been unable to provide any comment.

Acorns says that for every £1 raised on average 37p comes from the NHS, 11p comes from its charity shops and 52p from donations.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has called on ministers to address the “wider issues” of hospice funding while several MPs have also asked for a rethink on the long-term funding of children's hospices.

Heather Large

By Heather Large
Special projects reporter - @HeatherL_star

Senior reporter and part of the Express & Star special projects team specialising in education and human interest features.

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