Equitable government funding vital says Cornwall Hospice Care Chief Executive

paul brinsley government funding article

Government funding for hospice charities needs to be less of a lottery according to Paul Brinsley, Chief Executive of Cornish charity Cornwall Hospice Care. He says the contributions from local integrated care boards range enormously across the country with his charity receiving one of the smallest amounts each year.

Cornwall Hospice Care ended the last financial year (2023/24) with a deficit of around £300,000. Paul Brinsley says this isn’t as severe as other hospice charities, but not sustainable either;

“We can’t keep dipping into our reserves but short term, inadequate funding options simply hold us back and stop us from planning for the future.”

To grow we need better support

“We’re not looking for huge amounts of government funding. It’s important we remember we’re a local charity and we get tremendous support from the Cornish community who raise nearly 90% of the annual funds we need to provide our care. But to grow, we need to receive better support from the government that’s equitable to other hospices, recognising the important services we offer.”

A strong base line of funding is vital

“At present we receive a grant that provides around 9% of the money we need to run our charity as opposed to an average of 24% received by hospices elsewhere in the country. We desperately need a constant base line of funding that would allow us to keep our beds open and provide more services for our community in the future. This would be so much better than worrying that we might have to cut services.”

Our charity shops are our best funding source

The good news is that the Cornwall Hospice Care Board has been able to set a balanced budget for the current financial year (2024/25) but Paul Brinsley says this is due to the work of the charity raising its own funds;

“Our charity shoppers and those who donate goods to us, helped raise an incredible £1.7million net last year and that’s a bigger contribution to our care costs than that provided by our local Integrated Care Board. That seems wrong to me when we’re offering a vital healthcare service that in turns saves the NHS money.”

Better government funding gives more options to grow

“If we can sort this government funding situation out we can do more for our community,” says Paul Brinsley. “We’ve already expanded and invested in community services in particular, but we could do so much more to support people at end of life and in pre and post bereavement if we had a stronger base line of funds.

It’s vital we continue to grow, for instance we hosted around 2,000 bereavement appointments last year thanks to an injection of charity funds to help those who’re grieving for their loved ones. These are the services we need to be growing, along with our specialised hospice care, for our community who deserve the best care at the right time and in the right place.”

We’re talking to government

Hospice UK, a national umbrella charity, is actively lobbying government to improve government funding for end of life care providers like Cornwall Hospice Care.

“We’re also talking to our local MPs,” says Paul.

“Steve Double who represents one of the constituencies where we have a hospice, spoke eloquently in parliament recently about the importance of hospices to the community and funding for them. We continue to provide valuable information to back up our appeal for this vital base line of money.”

Find out more about what charity funding provides

You can listen to Paul talking about this government funding issue on BBC Radio Cornwall here (listen from 1.09.10 onwards) and for more information about our charity and our services, take a listen to our podcast ‘Two Old Choughs: A Tale of Two Hospices’ available here.

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