Hospice funding boost welcomed

Trinity Hospice on Low Moor Road, Bispham and (below) chief executive David Houston.

Trinity Hospice on Low Moor Road, Bispham and (below) chief executive David Houston.

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CARE bosses today welcomed news the Government is to inject £60m into hospices nationally to help improve facilities.

Care services minister Paul Burstow said the money was open to all adult and children’s hospices in England and would be used to fund a range of improvements including updating bedrooms and bathrooms and improving outdoor spaces.

Trinity Hospice chief executive David Houston

Trinity Hospice chief executive David Houston

David Houston, chief executive at Trinity Hospice, in Bispham, said it was good news the issue of end of life care was high on the agenda.

He added it was a tough time for hospices and any funding help was good news.

But the new money only applies to capital investment in buildings and for a hospice like Trinity, keeping the high quality of care provided by nurses, counsellors and other health professionals going is where the main focus is.

Mr Houston added: “We welcome the announcement of further one-off capital investment into hospice buildings and infrastructure and we will be applying, but there is absolutely no guarantee we will secure any of the funding. Competition for limited funds is fierce and the real challenge for hospices such as Trinity Hospice and Brian House Children’s Hospice is raising the money annually to pay for nurses, bereavement counsellors and other health care professionals who make such a difference to the adults and children in our care.”

In the face of spending cuts nationally, Trinity has seen a drop in the funding it receives from the state and Mr Houston said although Trinity would bid for cash, competition would be high.

He added: “For the past two years, our annual state funding has reduced in real terms and covers less than one third of the total costs of running the two hospices.

“As a local charity, we have to raise more than £4.5m from local people each year to provide the excellent care we are renowned for.

“With the economic downturn and reducing government funding, the past two years have been really tough and we have had to dip significantly into our reserves to protect services.

“We are opening more shops and now planning a big fund-raising push to protect services as well as endeavouring to respond to changing people’s needs and the desire to have Trinity support patients to die in their homes as well as in the hospice.

“But we need local support to help keep our hospices healthy for the future.”

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