Cransley Hospice in Kettering could see its NHS funding slashed

Cransley Hospice in Kettering
Cransley Hospice in Kettering

Cransley Hospice in Kettering is likely to have its funding cut under plans set out by the new NHS Clinical Commissioning Group.

Trustees from Cransley Hospice in Kettering and Cynthia Spencer Hospice in Northampton are in discussions with bosses at the Nene Clinical Commissioning Group about cutting their funding over the next two to three years.

Initial figures published by the commissioning group said it planned to cut the funding by £2m over the next two to three years, but this figure has since been withdrawn.

The commissioning group was set up in April after the Government changed how NHS money is spent, with local doctors and medical professionals forming such groups which are responsible for spending the majority of the local health care budget.

According to the group’s delivery plan for 2013-14, the NHS currently provides £3.1m a year to the two hospices, which is 80 per cent of their running costs, with the remainder coming from charitable donations.

Nationally the NHS funds 31 per cent of hospice running costs. Lakelands Hospice in Corby relies entirely on donations.

According to the plan, which is the basis of a healthcare prospectus published earlier this month “the clinical commissioning groups will be engaging with the trustees of the two hospices to agree a phased increase in charitable funding and a reduction of £2m in NHS funding being achieved on a phased basis over two to three years, with an initial reduction of £500,000 proposed for 2013/14”.

However, a spokesman for the commissioning group yesterday said: “Following the ongoing engagement and feedback with hospice trustees, the original figures stated in the delivery plan have been withdrawn.

“We continue to discuss what the alternative position should be.

“It is planned to work with the hospices to secure alternative means of revenue through fundraising and service changes that will reduce the demand on the NHS funds to a figure that is closer to the national average.”

Keith Ogley, of the Kettering and District Lions Club, completed the famous Wainwright’s Coast to Coast walk in aid of the hospice, raising more than £5,000.

He was supported in raising funds by fellow Lions Club members who sold raffle tickets in Kettering town centre and organised table top sales.

Club member Malcolm Harris said: “It would be a great shame if the hospice were to lose any of its services because of lack of funding.

“Everyone who has had anything to do with Cransley Hospice has nothing but praise for its team and the marvellous work that it does.”

Cransley Hospice serves a population of more than 250,000 and the trust that runs it aims to raise £850,000 a year to help with its running costs.