Hospices are overly reliant on income from charity fundraising due to a lack of government funding, a Dorset MP has warned.

Members on both sides of the House discussed a lack of government funding for hospices in their constituencies that left many with rising budget deficits and created a “postcode lottery” for palliative care.

The Health and Care Act 2022 states a legal duty on integrated care boards (ICBs) to commission palliative care services, with ICB commissioners obligated to ensure access to general medical and nursing services, out of hours services and rapid response to maintain continuity of care, thereby supporting patients’ preferences and choice.

Conservative MP for South Dorset, Richard Drax, whose mother worked in a children’s hospice, said the organisations were subject to an “over-reliance on people’s generosity”.

He said: “(Hospices) work hand in hand with local health and care services taking the pressure off the NHS.

“Hospices, as we’ve heard, are mainly funded by charity. On average around two-thirds of the income for adult services is raised through fundraising. For children, alarmingly, that figure is four-fifths.”

The South Dorset MP concluded: “Yes, I hear the government say it’s another call for money, and there are many other demands, but well-funded hospice care would safeguard this very effective and necessary sector which can not live on charity alone and nor should it.”