Hospice faces fight for survival


Bethesda Hospice in Stornoway says it is at crisis point after continued reductions in funding

26th August 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A hospice in the Western Isles faces a fight for survival.

Bethesda Hospice in Stornoway says it faces a shortfall of £100,000 and has called for an increase in funding.

The only hospice in the Western Isles, Bethesda has been operating for more than 25 years and has four beds for providing end-of-life care.

Western Isles health board previously paid 50% of the hospice services under a Scottish Government arrangement. The remainder was found through fundraising with support from islanders.

However reductions in funding from the Western Isles Integration Joint Board (IJB) means the hospice's finances are now at crisis point.

Bethesda's general manager Carol Sommerville said: "This last accounting year, we were running at a loss of about £100,000.

"We cannot continue to run at a loss. That's why we're looking for the money to be increased."

A health authority spokeswoman said: “The delivery of high quality and effective palliative and end of life care is a key strategic priority for NHS Western Isles.

“NHS Western Isles has worked closely with Bethesda Hospice over the years to ensure that the best possible outcomes are being achieved by both parties, and at each review, agree the level of funding for the next period.

“We have been in discussion with Bethesda over the last period about a new service level agreement and an improved funding offer has been made.

“The Bethesda Board is currently considering this offer, which is sensitive to the financial position of both organisations. We remain committed to a positive outcome.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Independent hospices provide essential palliative and end-of-life care to people across Scotland and integration authorities invest millions of pounds annually in supporting this vital work.

“We are pleased to note that the Western Isles Integrated Joint Board has submitted a revised financial offer to Bethesda, which is due to be considered imminently – and we are keen to see a solution identified which best meets the palliative care needs of those living in the Western Isles.”