The Trustees of East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) met last week to consider the future direction of the charity, after its financial difficulties during 2005.
The future for East Anglia's Children's Hospices
It was decided to concentrate on a more extensive community-based service and reduce the amount of care available in the charity's three hospices in order to save costs. This will result in a restructuring of the charity and an estimated 25 job cuts to take place in the next few months.
Trustees had received a good deal of response to their consultation paper 'Closer to Home', which was sent out in November outlining the potential options for the future of the charity. Families and staff had been consulted widely, and the charity had also received feedback from local statutory agencies and health & social care professionals, Friends Groups and volunteers.
The feedback revealed huge support for the work of EACH, and also the concerns of parents about losing some of the existing support they receive from the charity.
The Trustees were pleased to hear some positive comments from local statutory agencies which could lead to some additional funding in the future.
It was also noted that that EACH had received a very positive response from the general public across East Anglia in terms of donations and offers of help, and it was hoped that this support would continue in the future.
After lengthy consideration, the Trustees agreed to adopt Option 2 in the consultation paper, which is to move to a more community-focussed service. They did however note the strong feeling amongst families about the need for longer periods of respite care, and have asked the management team to examine ways in which they might continue to provide this in the future.
EACH will now begin the process of implementing these changes, which should be in place by April this year.
Chief Executive Graham Butland comments, "We have been extremely heartened by the support that we have received from across East Anglia. The battle for a fairer share of resources for the children and families who use children's hospices goes on.
' We shall continue to look for additional funding to maintain the care and support that we provide to some of the sickest children in the region. We know that for many families our services are their lifeline."
East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) aims to maximise the quality of life for children and young people with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition, and to support their families.