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Wednesday, 7 June, 2000, 00:10 GMT 01:10 UK
Children's hospices demand more funds
Children's hospice
Children's hospices appeal for more money
Hospices which look after terminally ill children say it is unfair that 95% of their income comes from fundraising.

They want the government to pump more money into the service, which cares for some of the 20,000 children in the UK with illnesses severe enough to limit their chances of reaching adulthood.

It is vital that children's hospices are properly, recognised, valued and funded by the government

Graham Collins, Association of Children's Hospices
While children's hospices receive only 4.2% of their funding from the government, hospices for adults get 32% of their financial backing from statutory sources.

The Association of Children's Hospices (ACH) said the imbalance between government money and fundraising was "staggering".

It also called for an overhaul of the way all hospices are funded, saying it is too complex and that there are inequalities across the country.

Brought in line

A meeting of The National Federation of Women's Institutes was due to debate the call for the funding of children's and adult hospices to be brought in line with each other.

Chairman of the ACH Graham Collins: "Children's hospices are now a very important option in the range of care available to life-limited children and their families.

"It is vital that they are properly, recognised, valued and funded by the government."

Children's hospices are independent, voluntary organisations that work with GPs, hospitals, social services and home-based care teams to give care to terminally ill children and their families.

There are currently 22 children's hospices operational in the UK and more are planned - including the first services for London and Northern Ireland.

The services are provided free to those who need them, but a children's hospice costs between 3m and 4m to set up and around 1m a year to run.

More than 3,000 children were helped by hospices in 1999.

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See also:

09 Apr 99 | Health
New hospice plan for Scotland
11 May 99 | Euthanasia
Alternatives at death's door
25 Jan 00 | Wales
Funding fears for hospice
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