Now as most of us know here in Waterford, the annual cost of running the homecare service is around €550,000 - or at least it was in 2013 and I'm quite sure it's still around that figure. The grant from the HSE in 2013 was around €205,000 - or less than 38% of the running costs.
On top of that the Waterford Hospice is being asked - or at least we the people of Waterford through them are being asked - to come up with around €6,000,000 as a contribution towards building a Regional Palliative Care Unit (a Regional facility...think about what we're being asked here) in the grounds of University Hospital Waterford (no the name hasn't made any difference to anything before you ask: the hospital is still critically underfunded but perhaps the new Minister for Health Mr Varadker with his Waterford mum might be less in thrall to certain Kilkenny consultants and their egos - at the expense of their patients - than was his predecessor!)
But I digress. So in 2013 the HSE funded Waterford Hospice to the tune of under 38%. This is the figure that matters. So what is the level of funding provided by the HSE to other Hospice organisations?
I have information to hand that in other areas the amount grant aided is as high as 90% of the funding required! If the Waterford Hospice Movement were to be funded on that basis - and why shouldn't they be? - it would mean that the sick people of Waterford are being short-changed by the HSE to the tune of over €300,000 every year!
I imagine that if this €300,000 monkey was off our backs we could well raise the remainder of the €6,000,000 required as our *contribution* towards the Regional Palliative Care Unit that the HSE is taking a generation to provide - but that's another story.
One of the recommendations from the End-of-Life and Palliative Care in Ireland report published earlier this year is that:
- The Government could be asked to address the regional disparities* which exist in the provision and funding of specialist palliative care services in Ireland, to ensure that the needs of all those who require specialist palliative care services are met - whether it be in the home, in the community or in a specialised hospice. (*my highlights)