MILFORD Care Centre in Castletroy is one of four voluntary hospices that are now under the financial control of the State, following cabinet approval of a memo from Health Minister Stephen Donnelly earlier this week.
With widespread acceptance that continued reliance on fundraising cannot provide financial sustainability, the move has been welcomed as a measure that will put the hospices on a more certain financial footing.
Milford, along with the Galway Hospice, Marymount Care Centre in Cork and St Francis Hospice in Dublin all provide palliative care beds and services for those who are terminally ill.
Minister Donnelly received approval to re-designate the four hospices from Section 39 entities (where the State partially funds the body) to Section 38 organisations where the level of State intervention is higher.
The primary distinction is that Section 38 organisations are funded to provide a defined level of service on behalf of the HSE, and their employees are classified as public servants.
Under Section 39, agencies are funded to varying degrees for services, and employees are not classified as public servants.
Becoming Section 38 agencies assures the hospice movement of full funding for all its continued provision of services, which are growing dramatically as people are living longer and the number of people needing palliative care is increasing.
Speaking in the Senate on Tuesday, Limerick Fine Gael Senator Maria Byrne welcomed the decision to change the status of the four hospices from section 39 to section 38 organisations.
“This is most welcome in Limerick, where Milford Care Centre is located. My family availed of the services in Milford Care Centre over the past number of years. Compassionate work is carried out there.
This is welcome news because it secures funding for the future of hospices in Ireland. I thank the Minister for listening to us. I spoke to him and the Tánaiste about this matter and I think it was the right thing to do,” Senator Byrne added.