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$3.1 million offers ‘breathing space’ for hospices

Interim Health New Zealand’s $3.1 million of one-off funding for hospice care announced last week, has been met with gratitude from the sector and a call for more investment.

“In light of our disappointment that hospices received nothing in Budget 2022, despite billions going to health, we are grateful for this contribution”, says Acting CEO, Hospice New Zealand, Wayne Naylor.

“It gives our hospices some breathing space at a time when our communities are shouldering the burden of the increased cost to deliver quality palliative care.”

While $3.1 million will not go far across the 27 hospices with government contracts, that together have a $170 million price tag to deliver free specialist palliative care to Kiwis at their end of life, Hospice New Zealand hopes this modest one-off investment signals the Government is listening to a sector, struggling.

“$3.1 million is merely a drop in the bucket towards the $81.6 million we need to raise in our communities to provide free palliative care. The last significant funding boost was in 2015. Since then, the cost of delivering care and support services has grown by over $30m a year. The majority of these increased costs are being passed onto the community as hospices have to increase fundraising.”

Mr Naylor says Hospice remains under-recognised by the government and the Ministry of Health.

“The longer-term funding pressures are not going away. Hospice New Zealand and the hospice sector is up for the challenge to work with Health New Zealand and the Māori Health Authority to ensure specialist palliative care is valued and understood as an integral part of the health system.”

“Hospice needs fairer, more sustainable investment so we can continue to deliver the very best palliative care services and support for Kiwis when they need it most.”

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