Jobs worries at St Asaph hospice

A Denbighshire hospice could be forced to lose staff due to a lack of funding.

Bosses at St Kentigern Hospice, St Asaph, broke the news to 40 workers at a board meeting.

Trefor Jones, the new chairman, said he hoped any redundancies would be voluntary and called for the public's help.

The 15-year-old centre is facing a funding crisis because it costs £1.6m a year to run but only has an annual income of £1.3m.

Mr Jones, who is Lord Lieutenant of Clwyd, said he hoped appealing to the public could plug the funding shortfall and avoid the need for job losses.

He said: "With escalating costs and increasing complexity in the levels of care required, the immediate challenge is to ensure the financial viability and integrity of the hospice.

"The board is working with NHS partners to try to reduce the impact while exploring ways of adapting the service.

'Difficult times'

"One of the things we are looking at is how we can meet the needs of people in their homes with support for family members, and how these can link effectively with in-patient and day-care services.

"These are very difficult times for the hospice but I am confident with the employees we have and the community we live in we can get through this."

The hospice covers an area stretching from Colwyn Bay to Flint and, since it opened, has had about 1,900 day-patients. Since 2003 there have also been more than 1,500 in-patients.

At present its income comes from four main sources: Fundraising and donations contributing £500,000; charity shops £300,000; a total of £300,000 in grants from Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and the Welsh Assembly Government; and £200,000 from legacies.

Mr Jones said the centre needed £4,400 a day just to maintain its current service, with the greatest proportion of its expenditure going on the £1.2m annual wage bill.

'Offer our support'

He added: "We need to increase substantially the donations and regular income we receive, and joining the lottery is an easy way for people to help. In the longer term, remembering the hospice in your will would also be a big help to us."

The hospice shares a site with the HM Stanley Hospital which faces possible closure, although the future of St Kentigern Hospice is not currently in doubt.

St David's Hospice in Llandudno said it would be offering its support.

Chairman Gladys Harrison said: "We at St David's Hospice are sympathetic to the news of financial difficulties experienced by St Kentigern Hospice and, like many hospices, we rely heavily on the continued support of the communities we serve.

"We will, of course, offer our support to the health board and St Kentigern in any review or adaptation of the present provision of specialist palliative care services by hospices."

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