Government is now being asked to mediate in the Bethesda funding issue

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An appeal has been made to the Scottish Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman MSP, to ask if Government officials can mediate between the Western Isles Integrated Joint Board (IJB) and Bethesda Care Home and Hospice, in order that a new funding agreement to support palliative (end of life) care at the hospice can be secured.

Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan, confirmed to the Gazette this afternoon (Tuesday) that he wasn’t prepared to ignore the warnings about the possible closure of the hospice.

He said: “At present, I see very little sign of any agreement emerging locally between Bethesda and the IJB.

“I cannot ignore the warnings that Bethesda would have to consider closing the hospice for part of the year if a funding settlement cannot be reached.

“I have therefore written to the Cabinet Secretary for Health asking if officials from the Scottish Government are able to intervene to help mediate between both parties and ensure that Bethesda receives a fair level of funding.”

A new funding offer had been made to Bethesda Care Home and Hospice last week to support palliative care in the Islands, but the care organisation had to reject the proposal, as the offer fell well-short of the £100,000 required.

In a statement to the Gazette the Bethesda Board, explained: “The offer of an additional £10,000 per annum plus a probable 2.5% increase for the following two years is offered on a baseline that is 11 years out of date.

“In order to ensure the hospice continues the services the Bethesda Trustees have asked the IJB to bring their funding contribution up to date and fund 50% of the running costs as the Scottish Government has always wanted.

“The deficit in the IJB funding is £100,000 per year - £8,500 per month, which is what is required to sustain the hospice and ensure continuity of services.”