New funding offer to Bethesda rejected - £10,000 offered, but £100,000 is needed

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A new funding offer to Bethesda Care Home and Hospice in Stornoway to support palliative care in the Islands has been rejected.

Concerns about the continuation of palliative (end of life) care at the hospice, which has been underfunded by the Health Board over many years, lead last week to a new funding offer being made by the Integrated Joint Board (IJB) to tackle the issue.

However, it was revealed by the care organisation today (Tuesday) that they had to reject the new offer.

Talking to the Gazette about their reasons for this a spokesperson for Bethesda Care Home and Hospice, explained: “The Bethesda Trustees felt they were unable to accept the offer proposed by the IJB as it is putting the organisation at risk and jeopardising the service.

“The Scottish Government has always wanted to support Hospices and has legislation in place to ensure 50% of the running costs should be met by Health Boards, whilst the other 50% is raised through fundraising.

“Despite NHS Western Isles receiving an increase in their funding each year from the Scottish Government, for the last 11 years NHS Western Isles has not passed on any uplift in funding, despite increasing costs. In effect, they have not fulfilled their obligations.

“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£10,000 per annum plus a probable 2.5% increase for the following two years is offered on a baseline that is 11 years out of date.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 the 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.”

They continued: “The hospice is very well supported by the community but we also need our IJB to support the hospice or it will not be sustainable for the future.

“The IJB are well aware that the Bethesda Board requires an additional £100,000 per year to bring financial stability for the future, due to a funding standstill from NHS Western Isles. “The offer of £10,000 per year is unsustainable. The hospice cannot accept a settlement which leaves it significantly short of funds.

“The additional £100,000 per annum is a nominal amount from an IJB budget of £60M per annum. This will help to secure a well utilised service for the future.”