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22 November 2011, 06:00
The Hospice of St Francis in Berkhamsted, which provides care for people with serious and life threatening illness, might be forced to close it's day hospice in order to cut costs.
The day hospice, which currently operates two days a week, provides support and care for patients with serious illness.
A small team of hospice nurses and support staff including counselors, therapists and volunteers, currently support patients over 12 weekly sessions that are designed specifically for each individuals needs.
However, as the hospice continues to suffer from a shortage of funds in times of tough economic recession, the organization has been forced to make a very difficult decision to consult on proposals to close the facility when the current programme ends next January.
In the last six months approximately 50 patients benefited from the day care services and they hospice cared for a total of 900 patients.
Staff, who were informed about the proposals this week, will now enter into a period of consultation but it is hoped that, if the proposals go ahead, any redundancies would be minimal.
The Hospice of St Francis, which needs to raise more than £3.7 million each year, has reported a planned deficit on its charitable income this year meaning that it needs to rely on its reserves to continue.
It is expected that the proposals would lead to savings of around £75,000 next year.
Chief executive Dr Ros Taylor said: “The Hospice of St Francis has been facing an increasingly worrying financial situation and for the first time, has been obliged to make some very tough decisions. It is hugely disappointing and it is not a decision that has been taken lightly.
“Importantly, our work goes on everywhere, in our own hospice beds, in the community, in patient’s homes and at our outpatient clinics and this will continue to grow when funds allow. We hope to develop a more cost-effective way of supporting people with the best possible care.
“We are struggling and every penny counts. Unless we can find some additional income sooner rather than later, we will not be able to guarantee the sustainability of our free services that our hospice is known for.”
Dr Taylor adds: “The Hospice of St Francis is deeply grateful for all the support it receives from local people, businesses and from those families who have received care over the last 32 years. We will need this support more than ever in the coming year.”
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