Update: Hospice campaigners declare victory in fight for hospice funding

Cransley Hospice
Cransley Hospice

Health bosses have pledged to maintain NHS funding for two county hospices until alternative charitable funding can be found in a statement released today (Friday, August 2).

In a joint statement, NHS Corby and NHS Nene Clinical Commissioning Groups said: “There will be no reduction in NHS funding for the hospices until such time as alternative sources of charitable funding are secured.”

The Northamptonshire Telegraph exclusively revealed Cransley Hospice in Kettering and the Cynthia Spencer Hospice in Northampton were facing huge funding reductions last week.

Campaigner Richard Garvie said that while he remained concerned about the future status of the hospices, the NHS Nene clinical commissioning group (CCG) had agreed to guarantee funding for the facilities.

“It was important to me that people were made aware of what was happening, and to show both hospice facilities that the community are right behind them at this difficult time,” Mr Garvie said.

“The huge response will hopefully go some way to showing the NHS Nene Commissioning Group just how strongly people are feeling and that we will not accept funding reductions for these services.”

A Facebook page set up to campaign against any proposed cuts has attracted more than 8,500 likes, while more than 2,000 people have signed an online petition – with further signatures were collected on a hard copy petition.

Meanwhile, a planned demonstration in Northampton this weekend has been postponed in return for a commitment for a public meeting to be held in September regarding a £39m black hole in Northamptonshire’s health budget.

“Unfortunately, the hospice issue is just the tip of the financial iceberg,” Mr Garvie added.

“The CCG have confirmed to me that there is a massive black hole in their finances that needs to be resolved, and I welcome the opportunity for local residents to attend a meeting to put their views across. Personally, I believe that hospices should be funded by the NHS and these changes still worry me as there is a considerable risk if the charity funds are not forthcoming.

“We’ll have to wait and see what the coming months bring – all we can do in the meantime is to continue and show our support for these hospices through donations and fundraising events.”

Dr Seiger, chairman of NHS Nene CCG, said: “We reassured the meeting that the plans were never to reduce hospice provision in Northamptonshire. This was confirmed in writing to the campaigners after the meeting.

“The CCGs will continue discussions with the trustees of the hospice charities, NHFT, patient representatives, and community representatives regarding the future strategy for hospice provision. This will include examining the potential to increase the charitable income generated by the hospices, particularly where this is linked to new initiatives. There will be no reduction in NHS funding for the hospices until such time as alternative sources of charitable funding are secured. The CCGs will share this strategy with the wider public once it has been agreed by the CCGs, NHFT and Hospice Trustees.

“In light of the reassurance from the CCGs, the campaigners have agreed to postpone their protest scheduled for this weekend.

“We informed the meeting of our plans to begin a discussion with members of the public in the autumn about the issues that are currently facing the local NHS. This discussion will include public meetings across the county as well as virtually on social media.”