Extra hospice funding welcomed

A National Party promise to boost hospice funding will make a significant difference to Otago Community Hospice, taking some pressure off its annual fundraising effort, chief executive Ginny Green says.

Ms Green said she did not know how much the organisation would receive from the boost, spread over the country's 29 hospices.

The hospice faced raising $2 million this financial year, up from the $1.6 million required in the last appeal.

''I was starting to think this coming year is going to be really tough. Our costs have gone up significantly, and our contracted income hasn't matched that at all.''

Demand for the service had risen.

The hospice had 190 patients on its programme, 30 more than its usual number.

National also boosted funding when it entered office in 2008 by $15 million a year, which gave the Otago hospice an extra $395,000 a year, she said.

The hospice received $2.8 million district health board funding, and its running cost was $4.8 million.

National Party health spokesman Tony Ryall, making the announcement yesterday in Nelson, said that as the population aged, more people needed palliative care.

''Hospices make a huge difference to people's lives by ensuring terminally ill people are as free from pain and suffering as possible. They also provide care and support for families and friends.

''Last year, more than 15,000 people received care and support from hospice services throughout New Zealand and hospice staff made over 145,000 visits to people in their homes.

''Just over 20% of people using hospice services were aged under 60, and three-quarters had a cancer-related disease,'' he said.

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