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Hospices will need 'goodwill of their local communities to keep going' - IHF

The Irish Hospice Foundation has raised concerns about the cuts imposed to the palliative care budget by the HSE’s National Service Plan.

LauraLynn House, Ireland's first children's hospice which was opened last year.
LauraLynn House, Ireland's first children's hospice which was opened last year.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

THE IRISH HOSPICE Foundation (IHF) has said that its services may have to be reduced unless there is an increase in donations following cuts to the palliative care budget.

The IHF says that under the Health Service Executive’s National Service Plan announced last week, the budget for palliative care is being cut from €81 million in 2011 to €78 million for the coming year – a cut of 3.7 per cent.

The organisation says that will mean it will have to rely on increased donations to maintain services. ”This cut is happening at a time when the numbers seeking hospice support are increasing.

“Our primary concern is with patients and their families who are the most vulnerable patients in our health service,” IHF CEO Sharon Foley said. ”It is inevitable that hospices will have to appeal to the goodwill of their local communities to keep going.”

Foley said that the cuts will mean that “goodwill is now more vital than ever” and noted that her organisation is funding the newly developed palliative care programme for children with €2.5 million over the next five years.

The HSE’S National Service Plan has committed to developing a specialist palliative care outpatient community nursing at St. Francis’ Hospice in Blanchardstown in west Dublin.

Health Minister James Reilly admitted that frontline services would be hit by a cut of €750 million in the health budget for this year but said that the government and the HSE had been “been able to mitigate” the impact of the cuts “in a major way”.

Health minister says frontline services will be hit by budget cuts >

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Hugh O'Connell

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