Hospice incomes down, retrenchments loom

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Hospice and palliative care centres in [b]SA[/b] have less than half of the R1bn they need to function annually and ‘a fair percentage’ of their 4,300 staff members are facing retrenchment, says a [s]Business Day[/s] report.

The organisations host an estimated 90,000-100,000 patients annually, and assist their relatives and community members who provide care as death approaches but funding has dried up from sources such as the [b]National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund[/b] and corporate SA, which blame tough economic times for dwindling donations.

According to the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund’s latest annual report, R966m was allocated to 1,995 charities between April 2013 and March this year – about 48% of the funds distributed. About 54 hospice organisations have received funding from the fund.

[b]Hospice Wits[/b] CEO Jacqui Kaye said the organisation was finding it increasingly difficult to access funding, even from trusted donors such as [b]Pepfar[/b], the [b]Canadian[/b] government and the [b]Princess Diana Foundation[/b]. The hospice’s other donors include [b]AngloGold Ashanti, Bidvest, Questmed, Tiger Brands, USAID[/b] and the [b]Japanese[/b] embassy.

The National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund did not respond to requests for comment.

[b]Hospice Palliative Care Association of SA[/b] CFO Callen Hodgskiss said care centres nationally needed R1bn annually to ‘properly support the existing networks of community-based organisations’. But they were only able to secure half this amount this year.

‘The R1bn is only part of the picture,’ Hodgskiss said. ‘Despite the past decades’ significant expansion of our network of home-based care, we are still only reaching a small proportion of the population in need of palliative care.’

Full Business Day report

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