Chester's Hospice of the Good Shepherd faces funding crisis

Chester's Hospice of the Good Shepherd may soon find itself in a battle for survival if the Government does not step up and increase funding.

This was the message from leaders at the Backford-based hospice after receiving what they described as a ‘disappointing’ increase in its annual grant.

They warn that hospices such as theirs can no longer continue to rely on fundraising from the local community to enable them to provide their vital services.

West Cheshire and Deeside’s only hospice will be receiving an uplift to the annual grant of just 0.6 per cent from the Integrated Care Board which funds local health care.

This means that the hospice will now only receive 17 per cent funding from the government compared to last year’s 22 per cent towards its running costs of £5.2 million.

However, these running costs have increased by over £1 million in the last few years as a result of increases in general running costs and salaries.

Rhian Edwards, the CEO of the hospice, said: “The public will be aware that there is a national hospice funding crisis. The projected total shortfall for all UK hospices is £77 million for the financial year of 2024/25.

“As part of the hospice movement, we have campaigned so hard with so many others to persuade the Government to reconsider this decision and we will continue to lobby decision-makers.”

She continued: “Although we appreciate that the Cheshire and Mersey Integrated Care Board is having its own financial challenges, this settlement as it stands is hugely disappointing.

“Our hospice is the only provider of specialist palliative in-patient care services in the area. We care for people and families when they are at their most vulnerable, unwell and afraid, both as inpatients and outpatients and through our bereavement support services. That’s our calling.”

Ms Edwards added: “Hospices such as ours simply cannot survive in the long-term if we don’t find a more effective way of funding them.

“The figures no longer stack up and we can’t continue to rely on the fundraising from our local community. What we need in an increase in Government funding.”

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