Deputy PM delivers £7.2m help for hospices

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DEPUTY Prime Minister Nick Clegg met patients at a hospice in his constituency yesterday as the Government announced a £7.2m funding boost for “end of life care” in Yorkshire.

The cash will come from a £60m national pot which the Department of Health said would “improve care environments and settings” with 19 hospices in Yorkshire set to benefit

Mr Clegg spent time at St Luke’s Hospice in Sheffield yesterday and heard how its grant of £865,906 - the largest to be given to any Yorkshire hospice and the second largest grant in the country - would help its £5m Room to Care appeal.

He said: “Hospices help patients and their families at what can be the most difficult part of their life.

“This extra funding will help bring hospices up to date, so staff and volunteers can work in modern environments, helping them continue to provide wonderful support with compassion and kindness.

“Patients will see a huge difference in their surroundings that play a considerable part in helping them psychologically and physically.”

St Gemma’s Hospice in Leeds has won a grant of £291,720 under the scheme, while Hull’s Dove House will receive £380,000, Bradford’s Marie Curie Cancer Centre £300,000 and York’s St Leonard’s Hospice £408,000.

David Praill, chief executive of Help the Hospices, the charity which represents hospices nationwide, said the grants were welcomed by organisations which are not guaranteed Government funding and rely on donations to survive.

He added: “Investment in hospices is vital so they can continue to innovate, modernise and expand in order to meet the growing needs of the communities they serve.

“Currently too many people do not get the care they want or need and the numbers needing care continue to increase.

“Together, we face the challenge to ensure people receive the best possible care at the end of life, irrespective of where they choose to be cared for, where they live of what condition they have.

“This funding will make a huge difference to the quality , dignity and compassion of the care provided.”

Hospices were invited to bid for the funds available, with officials and staff from Help the Hospices judging which projects would have a “tangible impact and provide value for money”.