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Boost for Hospice – but fundraising still required

Management at Galway Hospice has welcomed the news that the HSE is to fully fund its payroll costs from next year – but says fundraising will “still be very much required” to keep their services going.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly announced last week that Galway Hospice, alongside three other similar independent hospices in the country, will be ‘redesignated’ from February with the HSE to fund the palliative care facility’s payroll bill.

Staffing costs made up more than two-thirds of the Hospice’s total expenditure in 2022, totally €9.3 million for 153 staff – the facility’s total spend was €12.2 million.

The move will mean that those staff will become public servants, receiving the same benefits as others working for the HSE, while Government believes this will create a more sustainable funding model for the hospice.

In a statement released jointly with the three other hospices to receive redesignation in Cork, Limerick and Dublin, Galway Hospice management said the news was “very welcome and will benefit our patients, residents, families and staff”.

They said while they would continue to work closely with the HSE and recognised their significant role, “our governance structures remain independent of the HSE” in the form of the hospice’s voluntary board of directors.

“Fundraising will still very much be required by our services and the monies will all go towards enhancing care experiences for patients and their families.

“Fundraising will continue to fund specialised individual care needs, equipment to enhance the comfort of those with life-limiting illness and provide family supports,” said the statement.

Fundraising would remain essential to ‘optimise spaces and environments’, it continued.

A spokesperson for Galway Hospice told the Connacht Tribune that fundraising would remain critical for capital projects such as plans to build a new hospice for Galway.

As revealed by the Tribune last July, plans are afoot to co-locate the hospice on Brothers of Charity land in Ballybane, using part of the John Paul Centre.

The facility, known as Woodgrove, is currently used by the Brothers of Charity as a centre of people with intellectual disabilities and their families.

Welcoming news of this new funding arrangement for Galway Hospice, Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton said it will mean that funds raised by the charity will no longer be required to fund payroll, nor will they have to be spent on other operational costs such as electricity and heating.

“While Galway Hospice previously did receive funding from the State, it did not cover payroll costs and was not a sustainable situation. The purpose of redesignating the four hospices is to ensure that there is a sustainable model of care for adult specialist palliative care services,” said the TD for Galway West.

The Department of Health has confirmed that the redesignation of Galway Hospice will take place in just over two months, allowing time to continue consultation with staff in the four facilities involved in the process.

Pictured: Good news…Galway Hospice CEO Mary Nash with Minister of State and Government Chief Whip Hildegarde Naughton.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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