City MP raises need for better funding for Willen Hospice in Parliament

Iain Stewart MP

Iain Stewart MP

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Willen Hospice was mentioned in the House of Commons today as city MP Iain Stewart called for more money from the Department of Health.

In Feburary this year the Citizen launched a campaign to raise cash for Willen Hospice to stay open after their annual funding was threatened during the council cuts.

Today the MK South MP praised the ongoing work at the hospice and asked the government to give assurance that it would do all it could to maximise funding to hospices.

Paul Hinson, chief executive of Willen, told the Citizen: “I am very grateful for the interest and support both of our MPs have shown. They have taken our concerns on board and done their best for us.

“It is very encouraging to hear the funding for palliative care mentioned again.”

Speaking in the House, he said: “Hospices up and down country, such as Willen hospice in Milton Keynes, do a marvellous job in caring for terminally ill patients and their families, yet they have an annual struggle to raise money from local communities to support their work.

“Will he assure me that he [Alistair Burt] will do all he can to maximise the direct funding that hospices receive from the NHS?”

In response the Minister for Community and Social Care Alistair Burt said: “We are all indebted to hospices for the invaluable work they do.

“I am sure that he and the House will be interested to hear that, from April, there will be pilot projects working on a new funding formula for palliative care, with the aim of providing a fair and transparent process and improvements.

“I expect that there will be a report to the House in due course.”

Following the debate Mr Stewart said: “I am pleased with the response from the minister and I hope the report that comes to the house provides a constructive way forward and is welcomed by hospices up and down the country.”