Pres­sure off

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By CAITLIN WAL­LACE

A $28,000 grant from South Waikato Dis­trict Coun­cil will ease the books for Toko­roa Hospice which lost all Dis­trict Health Board fund­ing last year.

The grant came from the coun­cil’s $5 mil­lion com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment fund and was spent on hos­pi­tal equip­ment.

Hospice co-or­di­na­tor Vicki Ray said the char­ity had re­lied on other sources of fi­nance ever since the Waikato Dis­trict Health Board cut fund­ing.

DHB com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor Mary Anne Gill said the decision to cut the an­nual $28,000 grant was made in 2010 and the hospice re­ceived a fur­ther three years of funds to see it through.

The decision was based on a con­tract pro­vided to the Waikato Hospice which ser­viced the en­tire re­gion, she said.

Ray said it hit hard and was re­lieved the coun­cil had come to the ta­ble with a grant.

In the past 12 months, Ray said the hospice had helped 72 fam­i­lies, mostly from Toko­roa.

Be­cause of an up­surge in need, she said the hospice is on the look­out for more vol­un­teers.

‘’’There is an in­creas­ing de­mand be­cause there are more ter­mi­nally ill peo­ple . . . it’s just a fact of life.’’

Ray said peo­ple of­ten be­lieve hos- pice is for peo­ple who are go­ing to die straight­away but some pa­tients have used the equip­ment for years.

Mayor Neil Sinclair said he was in­ter­ested in a dis­cus­sion with the DHB.

Toko­roa Hospice trustee Bruce Nairn said they ap­pre­ci­ated the DHB’s support but felt they had now been sold out to a ‘‘cor­po­rate’’ or­gan­i­sa­tion. ‘‘They don’t know our com­mu­nity and that re­ally hurts us.’’

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