Govt cash to help hospice better assist terminally ill

Bay of Plenty Times 10 June 2015
The Waipuna Hospice is set to receive a boost in government funding but the organisation is running at capacity.

Patient numbers have increased 13.6 per cent in the past year and new referrals have jumped 15.5 per cent.

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said an extra $2.8 million was being pumped into Bay of Plenty hospice services over the next four years, with Waipuna Hospice and Hospice Eastern Bay of Plenty benefiting from the cash injection.

“The extra funding means the teams at these hospices will be able to better support terminally ill people at home and in aged-care facilities,” Dr Coleman said.

But Waipuna Hospice chief executive Richard Thurlow said it had been concerned “for many years now in how sustainable the service will be into the future”, and had been told the funding for each hospice would be calculated based on population.

“We, as yet, don’t have an exact figure.”

It was likely a proportion of the funding would be used for areas of the service that were under pressure, Dr Thurlow said.

By the numbers
¦In 2013, more than 15,000 people received care and support from hospice services throughout New Zealand.
¦Hospice staff made over 145,000 home visits nationally.
¦Just over 20 per cent of people using hospice services were aged under 60 and three-quarters had a cancer-related disease.