Cost of dying too high

Otago Community Hospice  has received offers of fundraising help since it announced on Monday the deficit it was facing would force it to reduce services.

But Chief Executive Ginny Green said inadequatre Government funding would continue to be a problem.

Several offers of support followed an announcement on Monday the hospice would be closing four beds and day respite care services, as it faces a $300,000 deficit going into the next financial year.

Government funding, given through the Otago District Health Board, had not kept pace with increasing wage costs and rising patient numbers at the hospice, and the shortfall raised by the community was already more than $1 million, Ms Green said.

If the community did rally to raise the $300,000 deficit, the board would have to carefully consider the next step, as the following year it would likely be in the same situation with a $500,000 deficit, she said.

“The fundamental issue is that government is not funding us appropriately and the community has already contributed so much.”

There will never be enough money for health and hospices don’t expect all their costs to be covered by public funding. But when the gap between that funding and costs is so big it threatens the invaluable services they provide for terminally ill people and their families the solution requires more than philanthropy.

2 Responses to Cost of dying too high

  1. macdoctor01 says:

    I’ve always thought of hospice as an integral part of medicine. Just because I can’t cure you, doesn’t mean I should stop caring for you. I think at least the basic running costs should be from public funds, simply because the service is too important to leave to the vagaries of philanthropy.

  2. Greg Naylor says:

    In Australia, we have a Palliative Care system to allow terminally ill people to remain and die at home. It offers pain management physicians, home nursing, psychological services, carer support and even emergency funding for those that need it … all at no cost to the patient’s family.

    I am receipt of this service and appreciate the Australian Health System’s efforts in this service. As a result of this program, we do not have as big a need for Hospice accommodation.

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