NHS commissioners in Surrey and South West London have awarded funding of £1.9 Million to Shooting Star Children’s Hospices to match fund their specialist paediatric palliative care service over the next four years.

Shooting Star Children’s Hospices has provided this valuable service to children and young people, and their families, for over 10 years through charity funding. The specialist team enables children with very complex conditions to be supported and cared for in hospital, at the hospice or in their own home and helps families receive the care that’s right for them towards the end of their child’s life. 

The provision of additional funding from the NHS will allow the service to develop further and ensures it will be sustained going forward, in the continuing uncertain economic financial times. Additional clinical staff will be recruited to support the service with funding enabling more hours for highly specialist nursing staff, doctors, and pharmacists to provide care to babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions.

Nigel Harding, Chief Executive for Shooting Star Children’s Hospices, said: “The NHS England and CCG match funding for our Specialist Paediatric Palliative Care Service (SPACE) helps ease the pressure of financial uncertainty for this service over the next four years. By working together, the Surrey Heartlands and SW London commissioning groups are reflecting how we work across different clinical teams. The match funding is recognition of the high-quality specialist care that we deliver across the joint regions.”

Dr Paul Crawshaw, Clinical Advisor for Women and Children’s Transformation at NHS Surrey Heartlands Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The specialist palliative care team at Shooting Star Children’s Hospices do a fantastic job of supporting children and their families at such a difficult time, and I’m delighted that funding has been made available to allow this much-needed service to develop further. This will include creating a network across Surrey and South West London linking together general hospitals, GPs and specialist services so everyone can work together to meet the needs of our families.”

South West London Clinical Commissioning Group Chief Nurse and Senior Responsible Officer for Children and Young People Services, Dr Gloria Rowland, said: “There can be no more difficult and stressful time than looking after a seriously ill young person.  That is why we’re pleased to make this funding available to help Shooting Stars Children’s Hospice to further develop the service and give children, young people and their families the best possible help. It will ensure that expert care can be provided in a number of settings including hospital, home and hospice, so that children and young people get the support they need in the place that suits them best.”

Shooting Star Children’s Hospice Specialist Paediatric Palliative Care Team is led by one of only seven consultants in Paediatric Palliative Medicine and a team of Clinical Nurse Specialists. The dedicated team provide specialist care working in collaboration with a wide range of health care professionals including a child’s own GP, their specialist hospital and their local Children’s Community Nursing Team. This expert care is provided 24-hours a day, whether the child is in hospital, at a Shooting Star Children’s Hospice or in the child’s own home.

The funding will be released annually over the four years of the agreement to build on the existing services gradually. This will start with expanding the clinical staffing for the service in the coming year and then delivering training and education programmes across healthcare services in the following year to encourage close working across all healthcare services.