Page last updated at 19:23 GMT, Friday, 17 October 2008 20:23 UK

Hospice danger over funding slump

Hospice staff and patient
The hospice's 90 staff care for more than 4,000 patients

A service for the terminally ill in Nottinghamshire could be forced to close because of the economic slowdown.

The Nottinghamshire Hospice's day care and home care services - which help more than 4,000 patients a year - cost almost 2.5m to run.

But in recent weeks it has lost 200,000 in donations and sponsorship and a further estimated 65,000 in the stockmarket slump.

Managers said that if a fundraising drive failed, it could shut for good.

The centre, on Woodborough Road, has about 90 staff providing counselling, meals and a variety of activities.

Some of [the patients] do not have anywhere else to go
Beverley Brooks, hospice chief executive
Funding from government and other statutory bodies covers only about a quarter of the running costs.

Beverley Brooks, the hospice's chief executive, said the losses on the stock market alone equated to 3000 fewer hours of nursing care.

"Without further funds the hospice will inevitably have to cut back its services drastically and in the end will not be able to survive," she said.

"And we need to be here for our patients and their families at the end of their lives. Some of them do not have anywhere else to go, they live on their own.

"Some of them have said to me 'Before we came to the hospice we were watching the clock and that is the clock that is going to be when I die'."

Patients said they feared becoming "a recluse" and would be "shattered" if the centre closed.

Managers have withdrawn investments from the stock market and have launched the Hospice Hopes appeal to raise additional funds.

As it stands, they said, the centre only had enough reserves to last until March.

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