HEALTH bosses are to throw Bury Hospice a £124,000 lifeline to ease a cash crisis, it has been announced.
It will pay for six overnight beds and day-care services at the hospice until the end of next March, and will also help fund the Hospice at Home respite service.
The CCG’s chief officer Stuart North, making the announcement yesterday, said: “We acknowledge the vital services provided by the hospice to local people and their families. We also recognise the financial difficulties it faces.”
Last month, hospice trustees said the Rochdale Old Road facility was not raising the £3 million a year it needed to pay bills. Amid fears the hospice’s future could be under threat, more than 2,500 supporters have signed an online petition called Save Bury Hospice.
Trustees asked Bury’s NHS Clinical Commiss- ioning Group (CCG) for extra funds on top of the £305,000 it already receives from the NHS.
At a meeting yesterday lunchtime (Wed Aug 6), the CCG’s Clinical Cabinet decided to give the hospice another £124,000.
A condition of the deal is that the CCG’s auditors are able to review the hospice’s governance arrangements to check the books are being balanced as effectively as possible.
It is understood that the Clinical Cabinet could not hand over a higher amount as the CCG is currently facing its own underfunding dilemma.
The CCG’s chief officer Stuart North said: “The hospice has looked to us for additional financial support and put forward a number of options which have been considered in detail by our Clinical Cabinet.
“After consideration of the options, the CCG believes that as a minimum, the hospice should continue to maintain the provision of six overnight beds, day-care services and the Hospice at Home service.”
He added: “We acknowledge the vital services provided by the hospice to local people and their families. We also recognise the financial difficulties it faces.”
While the money will only address the hospice’s short-term money worries, the CCG is also aiming to deal with the long-term issue.
Its clinicians are reviewing how end-of-life care is provided throughout Bury.
When the review concludes this winter, changes could be made which lead to the CCG giving the hospice more cash annually than it does now.
Mr North added: “It is anticipated that elements of the (end-of-life) service currently provided by Bury Hospice will feature in this re-designed service.”