Hospices get more money


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.

Hospice welcomes Nat’s plan


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.

Policy root of DHB problem


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.

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.

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