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When Selling Jam Is Not Enough

Auckland city Council - City Scene

The St Joseph's Hospice at Mercy Hospital, Epsom is selling jam to make ends meet.

Auckland's mayor, Chris Fletcher, says she sympathises with the Hospice's plight.

"Aucklanders generally need be made more aware of this valuable community service and where possible provide financial help so that this important facility provided by St Joseph’s is able to continue.

"It would be great if the Health Funding Authority and the community could dig deep and increase their contribution. The Hospice has a daily operational deficit of $3,636 a day and has to rely on fund raising, donations and bequests to make ends meet.

"I urge all Aucklanders to help where they can. There is always something most of us can do."

The Hospice was established in 1979 by the Sisters of Mercy to care for those with terminal cancer in the greater Auckland area, irrespective of their religion. It provides free expert care in the areas of symptom control and counselling, together with spiritual and bereavement support and respite for their caregivers. A vital component of this service is a 24-hour on call facility to assist those who elect to spend the latter part of life at home. Each day the Hospice cares for more than 150 people, both in their homes and at its 15 bed inpatient unit. Over 40 percent of the patients the hospice cares for each year are under 60 and facilities are also available for children.

The Health Funding Authority contributes 52 percent of the operational costs to the Hospice, however, it is facing a funding shortfall and is having to bolster funds from donations. The government is unable to give any assurance or expectation that they will increase their contribution in the short term, so the Hospice is reliant on alternate funding.

"We are most grateful and would like to acknowledge the support of individuals, including the dedicated jam makers," says Tony Duncan, CEO of Mercy Hospital. "We depend on service clubs, businesses, community groups, philanthropic trusts and the hospital's community benefit commitment to meet this funding shortfall. We would not be able to function effectively or provide the range of services we do without the support of 130 volunteers who complement the work of our professional staff."

"This is our 20th year of providing a quality service in a unique partnership with the people of Auckland and we are committed and will continue to assist in the well being, comfort and dignity of those with terminal cancer."

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