Hospice facing ‘decline in real terms’ in NHS funding

PUBLISHED: 10:30 29 May 2013 | UPDATED: 10:32 29 May 2013

Nigel Furlong, chief executive of Isabel Hospice

Nigel Furlong, chief executive of Isabel Hospice

Archant

BOSSES at the Isabel Hospice in Welwyn Garden City are facing up to a “real terms decline” in funding – which means they need to raise even more this year than in previous years.

This week the charity’s chief executive, Nigel Furlong, said running costs are set to increase by a whopping £63,000 – yet its grant from the NHS has gone up by just £5,000.

The news was released as hospice chiefs approved their annual budget.

Mr Furlong told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “To maintain our current services, our costs will have to rise by about £63,000 – 1.5 per cent – to £4.2 million.

“This is the cost of the care we provide to our patients.

“Our core grant from the NHS will rise by just £5,500, a decline in real terms, and contributes to about one third of our costs.

“This means that for the most of the remaining £2.7 million, we are dependent on our many supporters and sponsors.”

He admitted the budget includes a shortfall, which bosses are hoping to overcome.

The WHT is running a series of features highlighting the work the hospice does.

Mr Furlong said the charity is dependent on support from the community.

He stated: “Without the support, the free care our many patients, carers and family members you have read about in this series of features by the Welwyn Hatfield Times would cease.”

But balancing the books is no mean feat.

The chief executive said: “The budget projects a shortfall of some £150,000 over the coming year, which is just about manageable in the short term, but clearly we would be a lot more comfortable if we could achieve a balanced budget.”

Urging more donors to help support the cause, he said: “Every contribution, large or small is gratefully received – please be assured that the money raised will be spent wisely.

“85p in the £1 goes on patient care, the rest on fundraising and fulfilling statutory duties.”

> WHT news editor Dave Burke will be one of an 18-strong team trekking to Everest Base Camp in November for the hospice.

He hopes to raise £5,000 for the charity.

A website, www.teambasecamp.co.uk, has been set up with details of the expedition, and team members are hoping it can be a massive boost to the cause.

To sponsor Dave, go to www.justgiving.com/Dave-Burke1/ – or text WHTD81 and the amount you wish to sponsor (eg £5) to 70070.


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