Health Board Slammed Over Hospice Funding

A hospice chief has hit out at Wrexham Local Health Board over its approach to funding discussions. In a radio debate, John Savage, executive director of Nightingale House, said the board is refusing to enter into constructive dialogue with the independently-run hospice.

He said: “I can only give the example of our own Local Health Board, that our meetings in the past have been with financial people, not the service providers, and the first words out of them are ‘we have no money’.

“They don’t want to sit down and talk to you about sustainable services, and how we fit into the community.

“They will not speak to us as an equal partner in the commissioning of health services in the area of Wrexham.”

Mr Savage stressed that the hospice had a very good working relationship with the local NHS Trust, but that difficulties had arisen with the LHB.

He said: “They do not give us the time or the meaningful dialogue we need.

“Our concerns all come back to the issue of funding. We feel we are grossly underfunded for the services we offer. But we do not want to just beat the same drum about funding.

“We would just like to sit down with the commissioners and talk about what we are doing as part of the health economy in Wrexham.”

Last month, campaigners from Nightingale House joined other hospices from across Wales in taking their concerns to the Welsh Assembly.

Appeal director Julie Hinchliffe said: “We’re very fortunate at Nightingale House to enjoy fantastic ongoing support from the public, but there’s no doubt that everyone connected with raising funds would like to see hospices in Wales get a bigger slice of the financial cake.”

Geoff Lang, chief executive of Wrexham Local Health Board, said it values the high quality of palliative care services that Nightingale House provides to patients in Wrexham.

“The board’s commissioning team is in continuing dialogue with the hospice and North East Wales NHS Trust to ensure that patients receive the best possible standards of care within the resources available to the health community,” he said. “We understand the concerns raised by the hospice regarding funding.”

Nightingale House costs about £2 million a year to run, and the general public and charities contribute £1.5million. An £800,000 extension jointly-funded by the Welsh Assembly and the National Lottery, is nearing completion.