THE plight of Oxford’s cash-strapped Helen & Douglas House hospice was raised in the House of Commons yesterday.

Layla Moran called a special debate yesterday afternoon, raising concerns about the closure of Douglas House and how the hospice currently receives no support from Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group.

The Oxford West and Abingdon MP revealed that after huge support to save adult services at the hospice, including more than 48,000 people signing a petition to secure Government funding, the CCG was now considering offering the hospice a contract.

This could help with funding to the tune of £100,000 a year, Ms Moran told the House, though this would not be enough to save Douglas House before its planned closure in August.

She said: “This is an incredibly important matter.

“Helen House was the world’s first children’s hospice.

“It really shouldn’t take this petition to get to the point where finally the CCG is starting to listen – it’s ridiculous.”

Witney MP Robert Courts also joined in the debate, describing the hospice as an ‘oasis in the centre of Oxford’.

He called for better links to be forged between care providers and the NHS for a more holistic approach.

Caroline Dinenage, minister of state for the Department of Health and Social Care, echoed the importance of hospices and stressed the high quality of care they offered.

She said: “I’m told Oxfordshire CCG wants to look at a more collaborative approach to end of life care once its current contract finishes.

“This will allow smaller providers to work with others to bid for contracts.”

The CCG previously told the Oxford Mail that Helen & Douglas House was able to bid for contracts, and it already commissioned several other providers to give end-of-life care.