By Bill Heaney
Hospices face a perfect storm of rising staff costs, increased energy and running costs and a tough fundraising environment.
Dumbarton constituency MSP Jackie Baillie told the Scottish Parliament: “They need urgent funding to match the national health service pay uplift so that they can offer their staff the fair wage that they deserve.”
The hospices facing the staff costs crisis include the St Margaret of Scotland Hospice in East Barns Street, Clydebank, widely used by families across West Dunbartonshire.
St Margaret’s is run by Sister Rita Dawson, seen here during a royal visit in the picture with the late Queen Elizabeth and Professor Leo Martin, who chairs the hospice committee.
Ms Baillie said: “Hospice UK met the First Minister in his old role as health secretary some five weeks ago, but all that it has had since are holding responses.
“Time is running out and hospices will need to make decisions in order to sustain their services. Will the First Minister act swiftly—indeed, today—and provide hospices with the additional funding that they so urgently need?”
First Minister Humza Yousaf told the Labour health spokesperson: “We are investing a record £19 billion in our health and social care system this year.”That has been possible only because of the progressive taxation that the Scottish Government has brought forward.
“I will, of course, speak to the Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care[Michael Matheson] to see what more we can possibly do and what funding we are able to provide. However, every penny of our funding has been allocated.
“I understand that the issues that Jackie Baillie has raised on behalf of Hospice UK are important and I value the work that hospices do—I have personal experience of that work from when I lost an uncle to pancreatic cancer many years ago—so I take the issues that she raises seriously and we will look to do whatever we can to support the excellent work that our hospices do across the country.”