Hospice chief targets senior ministers over funding

The chief executive of a Manchester hospice and Mark Hunter, Liberal Democrat MP for Cheadle, have met the Prime Minister to urge the Government to improve funding for the hospice movement.

Terry McDonnell, chief executive of St Ann’s Hospice, said many hospices were facing financial crises.

The meeting with Gordon Brown and health minister Ivan Lewis happened before publication of the Government's End of Life Care Strategy and Lord Darzi’s review of the NHS this summer. Lewis said end-of-life care would be a priority for primary care trusts and that the NHS would be responsible for funding any core NHS services provided by hospices.

“Why should the public continue to subsidise a public service providing core, essential care for patients that the NHS would otherwise have to provide?” said McDonnell. “In the case of our hospice, this funding gap amounts to £6m a year, or £16,000 per day, which has to be raised by charitable donations.”

Hunter said: “I am cautiously optimistic about the outcome of this meeting. Both the Prime Minister and the health minister assured us that they would resolve this issue, but we now want to see this being followed by urgent action on the Government’s part.”

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