Otago Community Hospice has received an extra $65,000 in government funding.
National’s Dunedin-based MP Michael Woodhouse said hospices got an extra $15 million in this year’s Budget, and the extra for Dunedin came from the $1.3 million of that which was put aside for addressing difficulties in accessing palliative care services.
Mercy Hospice in Auckland, Franklin Hospice, Hospice South Auckland, Hospice Eastern Bay of Plenty, Waipuna Hospice in the Bay of Plenty, Rotorua Community Hospice, Taupo Hospice, Gisborne Palliative Care Trust, Nurse Maude Hospice in Canterbury, and the South Canterbury Hospice also received a portion of the $1.3 million.
That’s another campaign promise kept.
It’s just a couple of months since the Otago Community Hopsice was relying on fund raising to prevent it having to close four beds in the face of a $300,000 deficit.
Chief executive Ginny Green says National’s plan to increase funding for hospices could boost their finances by around $500,000.
The Otago District Health Board faces cost cutting because of a budgeted deficit of $7.3 million.
At the root of this problem is the wrong assumption that Otago was over-funded.
Population-based funding is good in theory and may even work in practice when adjustments are made for factors such as age and rurality providing it is based on realistic budgets.
But when it was introduced the Minsitry of Health started by saying Otago was over funded and required it to reduce costs. Instead of working out how to bring other areas up to Otago’s standards, the bureaucrats told Otago it had to get down to the lower cost per person ratio in other areas and the board has been trying to do more with less ever since.
Over funding was simply a bureaucratic judgement based on a wrong assumption. The deficit Otago is now facing and services like the Otago Community Hopsice and Plunket complaining they haven’t got enough money to provide their services are evidence of that.