HOSPICES in North Wales are to get a £683,000 boost from the Welsh Assembly Government.
Health Minister Edwina Hart yesterday announced a £2.1m annual funding allocation for Wales’ 18 hospices.
Among those benefiting are St David’s Hospice in Llandudno, which will receive £240,000, T Gobaith children’s hospice in the Conwy Valley, which is getting £175,000 and St Kentigern in St Asaph, which will receive £130,000.
St David’s Hospice chief executive Alun Davies welcomed the money but said it fell well short of what English hospices were receiving.
He said: “We are pleased with the funding received and this will help us maintain existing services at the hospice.
“Although we are pleased with the funding it is still considerably less than that received by our counterparts over the border in England so there is still work to be done on this.
“We will receive £370,000 from the Local Health Board and Welsh Assembly Government so that leave us with more than £1m to raise from the good people of North West Wales.
“It is them who we rely on for support for our £1.4m costs.”
The Assembly Government funding is part of £2.1 million in cash for clinical palliative and end-of-life care services in Wales. Other hospices to benefit are Nightingale House in Wrexham (£60,000) Gwynedd Hospice at Home (£78,000) and the Severn Hospice in Newtown (£39,500).
A further £1.9m is being spent on NHS palliative care services across Wales.
The allocations for independent and NHS care services are based on recommendations of an expert group headed by Baroness Ilora Finlay, a consultant in palliative care.
The group aims to provide a fairer funding system for hospices.
Part of the funding will be dedicated to the expansion of the Cancer Network Information System Cymru, a computerised clinical record to enable health professionals quick access key information to monitor and care for patients.
One of the other key areas in development is out-of-hours services and the aim to make seven-day-a-week care more widely available and fairly distributed across Wales. Extra support will be made available to patients at home as part of a managed clinical network.
Minister Ms Hart said: “For people with progressive and life threatening conditions, good quality palliative care services are vital. I wish to ensure the level of care provided, at what is a very distressing time, is the very best possible and people have access to services consistently across Wales.”
Baroness Finlay added: "The Government's support for palliative care services in Wales is crucial for the further development of high-quality services across the whole of Wales. This ensures that patients and family needs can be met and the quality life improved even as the end approaches.”
AM Ann Jones welcomed the cash for St Kentigern in St Asaph.
Ann Jones said: “St Kentigern provides a vital service to local people and I am delighted at the news of this latest funding allocation.
“I have seen at first hand what this funding means to hospices and more importantly to patients, their families and carers.”