On a recent visit to Peace Hospice Care, William Hague, First Secretary of State and leader of the House of Commons, presented hospice staff with a question that most charities would be wanting to hear. 'What can we do to help?' he asked.
Accompanied by Watford MP, Richard Harrington, they spent time talking with staff and patients and had a tour of the Hospice's Inpatient Unit and its new Starlight Centre, which is focused on trying to reach patients at an earlier stage of their illness - helping them to receive the care and support they need throughout their illness and not just in the later stages of life.
Hospice's across the Country rely mostly on the support of charitable income to keep its services going with Peace Hospice Care receiving only 27% of its funding from statutory sources with the remaining £4.2 million needing to be found through charitable income.
Speaking at the visit, William Hague said 'The government want to continue supporting hospices across the UK and we will continue to do everything we can to help them. Peace Hospice Care has benefited from a recent Prime Ministers Fund to allow its hospice at home service to be extended from a day service to a 24 hours of care this year and the Hospice has also been chosen as one of a few partnering charities to host a new volunteer programme which will train and support volunteers to befriend and support patients in their last year of their life.'
Peace Hospice Care Chief Executive, Sue Plummer said 'It was good to welcome William Hague to our Hospice for his first visit and we had an opportunity to talk with him about the good work that we've been doing, but also highlighting the huge challenges that hospices face over the coming months and years.'
She added 'With an aging UK population and with patients experiencing more varied and complex health problems, hospices up and down the Country are facing huge challenges as to how they can best support this huge unmet need. Having to raise more than £4 million each year is a heavy burden for us at a time when we are looking to increase the number of people that need our care and support.'
With the elections approaching, there will no doubt be questions raised to politicians across the UK on what they will promise to do to support hospices – as well as the huge number of questions that will be asked on the future plans around the NHS.
And how was the question responded to when William Hague asked how he could help. 'The easy answer - more financial support to enable us to care for the many more people who need our specialist care' said Sue Plummer'.
Peace Hospice Care provides care to patients across South West Hertfordshire with a life limiting illness. All the care delivered to its patients and their families is given at no cost.
To view our picture gallery of William Hague's visit click here
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