$2.5m jab for hospice service

SARAH JARVIS
Last updated 05:00 15/08/2014

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Hospice and palliative care services in Canterbury will receive about $2.5 million extra next year thanks to the Government's $20m hospice boost, however, it was unclear yesterday how much of it will benefit Hospice South Canterbury.

Prime Minister John Key and Health Minister Tony Ryall announced the funding boost on Tuesday.

Hospice South Canterbury is one of two in the Canterbury region. The other is Nurse Maude Hospice in Christchurch.

"Hospices make a huge difference to people's lives by ensuring terminally ill people are as free from pain and suffering as possible. They also provide care and support for families and friends," Ryall said.

Hospice South Canterbury's funding manager Karen McCrostie said the news was welcomed, although they were yet to find out how it would be divvied up. "It would be great to get some of it," she said.

McCrostie said this year they had a fundraising target of $673,000 to raise. Last year more than 15,000 people received care and support from hospice services throughout New Zealand and hospice staff made over 145,000 visits to people in their homes.

"Just over 20 per cent of people using hospice services were aged under 60 and three-quarters had a cancer related disease," Ryall said.

"As our population ages, more and more people will need palliative care. Nearly two-thirds of the money will go towards helping local hospices expand their community palliative care services into better supporting terminally ill people at home and in aged care facilities.

"The other third will be used to create new palliative care nurse specialist and educator roles. There will be a total of 60 nurses across the country that will provide training, mentoring and hands on support for staff across aged residential care, GP practices and home-based support services."

Ryall said the extra $20m a year is in addition to the $15m a year increase from the Boost Hospice Care funding initiative announced in 2009.

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- The Timaru Herald

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