A recent study by Help the Hospices has revealed that over a quarter of hospices in the UK are in financial deficit.

In 2005 the Government's manifesto pledged a doubling of funding for palliative care; quoting from pages 63-64: 'In order to increase choices for patients with cancer we will double the investment going into palliative care services, giving more people the choice to be treated at home'.

Yet, despite this promise, the amount of Government money that hospices receive (as a proportion of their spending) has fallen from 34% in 2004 to 32% now. The rest of their funding still has to come from charitable fundraising. Furthermore, the amount that individual hospices receive from the Government varies wildly - from nothing at all right up to almost two-thirds.

Help the Hospices' chief, executive David Praill, has called on the Goverment to deliver on its 2005 promise:

Charitable hospices provide the majority of in-patient palliative care services as well as a range of day care, hospice at home, bereavement support services and training for doctors and nurses...We are not asking for 100% funding, but we do need the government to cover the cost of services that the NHS would otherwise have to provide...The donations we get from charity fundraising activities in local communities are already badly needed and cannot be stretched to cover core NHS responsibilities indefinitely as well.

Read more about the study or read the National Council for Palliative Care's briefing, The Funding Reality for 2006/7.

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Care Not Killing