Northern Ireland

NI Hospice: 'Shame and injustice' of missed funding for sick

hospice Image copyright sturti/Getty Images

It is a "huge shame and injustice" that terminally ill people in NI will receive no benefit from a government cash boost to protect palliative care, the head of the NI Hospice has said.

Chief executive Heather Weir was speaking after the prime minister announced an extra £25m of funding for hospices in England.

It follows a previous funding boost for English children's hospices.

Northern Ireland hospices have "missed out", Ms Weir said.

She expressed disappointment that "no financial support will be extended to Northern Ireland and to the 4,000 people who need our services each year".

The charity provides palliative care to infants, children and adults at a cost of £15.5m per year.

The vast majority of its costs - £11m - are met through charitable donations, while 30% is through statutory funding.

Image caption Heather Weir said the Northern Ireland Hospice is struggling to reconcile its increasing costs with a growing demand for its services

Ms Weir said the Northern Ireland Hospice is finding it difficult to reconcile increasing costs with growing demand for services.

"The Northern Ireland Hospice provides an exceptional service and we raise as much money as we can to allow these services to continue," she said.

'Entirely unique'

She added that, in the absence of a Northern Ireland Executive, she and her colleagues have been dealing directly with MPs to raise awareness of the need for extra funding.

However, none has been forthcoming.

"The services provided by the Northern Ireland Hospice are entirely unique given that our care incorporates Northern Ireland Children's Hospice, meaning the care we provide caters to all ages.

"It is a huge shame and an injustice to people living in Northern Ireland with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions that the province is not receiving the same level of financial support as elsewhere in the UK for palliative care services."

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