The Lostock Hall hospice has been receiving proportionately £400,000 less each year from the NHS compared to other adult hospices.
It receives only around a quarter of its funding, rather than a third, from the clinical commissioning groups, which equates to just £1.3m of the charity’s £5m running costs.
Our patients and their families are consistently shocked by the vast amount of charitable funding required for such fundamental services.Stephen Greenhalgh
CCGs have recognised the seriousness of the situation and made a short-term, additional contribution to help St Catherine’s sustain its at-risk community Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) service until March 2016.
But the extra assistance simply lifts St Catherine’s income up to ‘average’ NHS funding for adult hospices, and is only secured for this financial year.
Data shows that about 84 per cent of patients accessing the St Catherine’s CNS service – which works with local GPs and district nurses – are able to achieve their wishes to die at home or in the hospice, compared to the local average in Central Lancashire of approximately 42 per cent.
The service also saves the NHS more than double its running costs by reducing unnecessary hospital admissions.
Stephen Greenhalgh, chief executive of St Catherine’s Hospice, said: “For a number of years we have expressed serious concern about the consequences of continued below average NHS funding.
“Our patients and their families are consistently shocked by the vast amount of charitable funding required for such fundamental services.
“Our difficulty is not a dip in charitable funding, but rather the effects of the long-term annual shortfall in NHS income that has taken its toll.
“We have to operate with funding levels from the NHS that are way below levels the Hospice UK report states are already fragile and unsustainable.
“St Catherine’s has made strenuous efforts to compensate for this including making extensive efficiency savings, redundancies and a bold programme of new fund-raising initiatives.
“The challenge of raising £3.7m every single year, in competition with massive national charities and countless local good causes, is enormous.”