Strathcarron Hospice is safe for now ... but warnings for the future

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Bosses at Strathcarron Hospice have issued a reassurance that the facility near Denny is not facing closure.

However, they have admitted that cash concerns are making their future “precarious”.

It comes after a GP from the town launched a ‘Save Strathcarron’ petition in a bid to ward off what she sees as major funding cuts.

Last month, it was revealed that NHS Lanarkshire had planned to cut its cash injection to the healthcare resource to provide services to Cumbernauld and Kilsyth. However, the plans were put on ice after strong objections, but there’s no guarantee that they will provide funding beyond 2020.

Dr Emma McPherson, who is a GP in Cumbernauld and whose mother died in the hospice in 2016, has already had over 21,600 people sign her petition.

Her aim is to present it to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon when it reaches the 25,000 target.

In a statement from the hospice, officials said they were “grateful” to the doctor for raising the issue of funding so publicly, adding “we have been touched by the level of support and the kind comments from the public”.

They added: “NHS Lanarkshire has given us an that they will not cut our funding in the current financial year. They have argued that they are unable to commit to funding beyond one year without competitive tendering.”

The statement said this was in direct contrast to other areas where hospices and health boards work in partnership to provide specialist palliative care. Indeed, Strathcarron has a three-year agreement with NHS Forth Valley.

“Our service to NHS Lanarkshire costs £1.85 million and if they contributed 50 per cent, they should give us £942,000 but currently pay £569,000. This is unsustainable,” warned the hospice team.

NHS Lanarkshire has said it is committed to a strong relationship with Strathcarron “as long as demand for the service continues”.

It added that their desire was to provide palliative and end of life care in people’s homes.

However, Strathcarron pointed out it provided a wider range of services at home than any other hospice.