Peter Gibson MP has today (07.03.23) raised the issue of Hospice funding in the House of Commons and once again brought together MPs from across the Tees Valley and CEOs of Tees Valley Hospices to meet with Sam Allen, Chief Executive of the Integrated Care Board (ICB) for the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System (ICS).
Speaking during Health and Social Care questions in the House of Commons, Mr Gibson highlighted the new legal requirement under the Health and Care Act for the NHS to commission palliative care. Mr Gibson asked Steve Barclay, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to outline what steps he is taking to assess delivery of commissioning and called on him to support Tees Valley MPs in their call for the North East and North Cumbria ICS to properly engage with the hospice sector in the Tees Valley.
Responding to Mr Gibson, Mr Barclay highlighted the beneficial work the hospice sector does for communities across the country and emphasised that commissioning decisions now rest in the hands of local NHS ICBs.
Mr Gibson’s question to the Secretary of State can be seen here: https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/c51eaeff-d616-46f8-80c6-627e16ad6368
Immediately following Health Questions, Mr Gibson convened a meeting between Sam Allen and the Chief Executives of St Teresa’s Hospice, Teesside Hospice, Alice House Hospice and Butterwick Hospice Care. All Tees Valley MPs of all parties were involved in the meeting, with Mr Gibson being joined by representatives from the offices of Jill Mortimer MP for Hartlepool, Jacob Young MP for Redcar, Paul Howell MP for Sedgefield, Andy McDonald MP for Middlesbrough, Simon Clarke MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, Matt Vickers MP for Stockton South and Alex Cunningham MP for Stockton North.
During the meeting, attendees made clear to Sam Allen their concerns that the Hospice sector in the Tees Valley faces a financial cliff edge, with funding through charity becoming increasingly difficult and that they are yet to receive clarity on how local NHS commissioners plan to fund hospice and palliative care. The ball now rests with the ICB to fulfil their obligations under the Health and Care Act, to commission the services our communities need, which in turn will save the NHS money and improve end of life care. The Tees Valley MPs now hope for a speedy response from the ICB and intend to keep up the pressure on them, to deliver for their constituents.
Speaking about the meeting, Mr Gibson said:
“Hospices provide an invaluable benefit to our communities in the Tees Valley. It is hugely important that we secure funding clarity for the sector so that they can continue to provide their hugely important benefit to society. This is not a party-political issue, and I am delighted that all Tees Valley MPs of all parties are united in their support for the Hospice sector.
“The North East has a golden opportunity to properly fund palliative care and be an example for the rest of the country. I would encourage Sam Allen to properly listen to the hospice sector and seize the opportunity in front of them.”
Speaking following the meeting, David Smith, Chief Executive of Teesside Hospice in Middlesbrough and St Teresa’s Hospice in Darlington said:
“We are thankful to Peter and all of our MPs for their unrelenting support lobbying for the NHS to follow its own guidance and fully fund core and specialist level palliative care services.
“Hospices in Tees Valley have always enjoyed incredibly generous support from their communities but are now in a position where they urgently need to NHS to cover the core clinical costs and allow charitable donations to be spent on the enhanced support take make hospices such a special part of our community. Without imminent change current hospice services are a real risk.”