A doctor from Denny has launched a “Save Strathcarron Hospice” petition in a bid to ward off what she sees as a major funding cuts threat to its future.
Dr Emma McPherson is horrified by proposals from NHS Lanarkshire - highlighted in the Falkirk Herald last month - to remove its funding for the resource, arguing that it has placed Strathcarron “under threat”.
That threat is currently on ice, following strong objections, but there’s no guarantee on Lanarkshire funding beyond 2020.
Introducing her petition on www.change.org Dr McPherson says: “I have been a GP in Cumbernauld for 16 years and have lived in Denny all my life.
“My own mother died in Strathcarron Hospice in 2016.
“The care they provided allowed us to be with her to the end.
“We were afforded every possible consideration to try to ease her passing. l cannot thank them enough.
“I have, over the years, seen many NHS services removed or lessened and just sat back, but l cannot for this”.
She is a GP in Cumbernauld, covered by Lanarkshire, but she says not only people there but in every other area covered by Strathcarron - including Falkirk - could be affected.
Dr McPherson aims to send her petition to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon when she reaches 25,000 signatures, and has already gathered nearly 15,400.
Meanwhile she has stressed that cash donated to the website does not go to the Hospice, which collects its funds in a completely separate and independent stream.
Dr McPherson - and Strathcarron Hospice - also point out that funding has been agreed for the year 2019-2020.
However Strathcarron’s administration is unhappy at attempts to cut funding, arguing that while it should be receiving £942,000 it has received just £569,000 - which the Integrated Joint Board (IJB) wanted to slash by a further £92,000, while reducing Strathcarron’s bed usage.
Last month the Falkirk Herald reported how the last joint board meeting heard that in 2017 hospice services used by residents throughout Lanarkshire were reviewed and Strathcarron was set to be dropped.
A stay of execution was granted when board members agreed to delay their planned review of the Strathcarron contract until December, and continue its funding.
Nevertheless this leaves the Hospice in the dark about what happens after 2020, and with the technical possibility it could face a major loss of funds on top of its existing working deficit.