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Struggling hospices receive £4m to keep services going

New government funding has been pledged to hospices in Wales to keep them afloat amid concerns that some are at risk of closure.

Welsh health secretary Eluned Morgan has today put forward £4m to be shared between the country’s 12 hospices.

“It is critical that we can continue to explore what is needed to establish a genuinely sustainable funding model”

Rachel Jones

The government said the funding would allow hospices to “continue their vital work” at a time when the cost-of-living crisis had affected their stream of charitable donations on which they traditionally rely.

These fundraising challenges have made it “harder for hospices to retain and recruit staff – some have had to consider whether they can continue to maintain services”, added the Welsh Government.

The £4m is intended to help hospices maintain services, meet staffing costs and improve the quality of end-of-life care provided to patients and families.

Ms Morgan said: “Hospices and end-of-life care services are highly valued, and they play a really important role in supporting families at some of the most difficult times in their lives.

“They also support the NHS to provide essential care to around 20,000 who need palliative and end-of-life care every year.

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“This funding will help to ensure they can continue to provide these vital services and keep on providing high-quality care across Wales.”

While hospice leaders welcomed the cash injection, they warned that a longer-term funding solution was needed for palliative and end-of-life care services.

Matthew Brindley, Wales policy and advocacy manager for Hospice UK, said hospices “still face an uncertain future with ever-increasing complexity of care and cost-of-living pressures”.

“This money gives hospices much-needed support and security now, but we will need to work with Welsh Government and health boards to develop a more sustainable and equitable funding solution that recognises the critical partnership role Welsh hospices play delivering care with our NHS colleagues,” said Mr Brindley.

Similarly, Rachel Jones, Marie Curie Cymru associate director of strategic partnerships and services, said: “With more people requiring palliative and end-of-life care in the future it is critical that we can continue to explore what is needed to establish a genuinely sustainable funding model to ensure that people receive the best possible palliative and end-of-life care.”

Liz Booyse, chair of Hospices Cymru and chief executive of Cardiff-based City Hospice, indicated that the Welsh Government had made a commitment to work with Welsh hospices to develop a sustainable funding arrangement going forward.

“This commitment is vital for ensuring the ongoing continuity of the critical services we provide to communities across Wales,” she said.

The Welsh Government said the funding was part of phase three of its end-of-life care review and followed the allocation of £4m to hospices in 2023-24.

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