A hospice giving terminally ill patients a reason to live is facing soaring costs - a quarter of a million pounds for electricity alone.

Mountbatten Hospice in West End relies on £7m each year in donations to cover most of its annual £11.5m operating costs.

It cares for 1,200 people across the county but its energy bill alone has spiked by £250,000 this last year. 

Speaking to the Daily Echo, Nigel Hartley, Chief Executive of Mountbatten said: “There are two real issues for us in terms of rising costs.

“Firstly, the need for our services is going up due to an ageing population and therefore that makes our costs go up.

“The second part is that we have almost 200 members of staff here, who are nurses, doctors, physios, healthcare assistants – and we want to pay them the same rate as NHS staff, which is totally right, and we want to do that but of course, it does add to the cost.

“So, there’s a five per cent rise there, plus we need to manage the potential NHS Pay Award, which could add £700,000 to our costs.”

Forty per cent of funding used to look after people across Hampshire seven days a week comes from the NHS commissioner, Nigel says.

The remaining 60 per cent comes from fundraising.

He added: “Our energy bills alone have risen by £250,000 in the last year and we have to find that money ourselves, so it’s a difficult situation.

“I think everyone is under pressure at the moment with the rise in cost of living.”

Despite financial pressures, patient care has remained unaffected.

Lee Robinson, a terminally ill patient, has praised the end-of-life care at the Mountbatten Hospice.

He said: “It’s changed my life and really given me a reason to live.

“I think there’s a stigma around end-of-life care, it’s not the end of your life – it’s the start of a new life.

“The care we receive here is fantastic.”

On the prospect of Mountbatten Hospice no longer being able to function, Nigel added: “Where would people go?

“There’s the NHS and they do a wonderful job but they’re swamped and this could make it even worse.

“We want to engage with the community, it would be wonderful if people could support us financially, but we’d also like them to know that we’re here.”

The hospice is the oldest and largest in Hampshire, having first opened in 1977, providing patients domiciliary and end-of-life care across Southampton and the wider area.

To visit the Mountbatten Hospice Hampshire website, click here: Mountbatten Hampshire (mountbatten-hampshire.org.uk)