The chief executive of a Southampton-based hospice has hit out at the lack of hospice funding from the NHS.

This follows a report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) that stated the Integrated Care Board (ICB) commissioning of hospice services is currently ‘not fit for purpose’ – putting the health system at risk.

The APPG report found there had been ‘drastic real term cuts’ in the funding hospices receive, which has not kept pace with inflation.

Reacting to the government report, Mountbatten chief executive, Nigel Hartley said: “Another critical report from the APPG on Hospice and a Palliative Care - but who is listening and who is being held accountable?

“I’ve work in hospices for over 35 years, and I have never experienced such a critical and desperate time with regard to hospice funding from the NHS.

Daily Echo: Mountbatten HospiceMountbatten Hospice

“Mountbatten has been fortunate to have retained a proper contract with the local NHS for a number of years, receiving around a third of our funding from them and performing and reporting accordingly.”

The annual cost of Mountbatten’s services across its palliative care sites in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight totals £21m, one third of which (£7m) comes from the NHS.

Mr Hartley added: “Everything we do has been in agreement with local NHS commissioners.

“Our NHS funding will be down by £800,000 in April this year due to no uplift, so the amount will remain flat (uplifts over the last years have never matched the cost of staff pay awards or cost of living) with other potential cuts.

“If something doesn’t change soon, we will be saying goodbye to our beloved hospice movement and the growing number of people who so desperately need our care will be left and ignored as they were at the birth of the NHS in the 1940s.”

Mountbatten is currently supporting around 3,500 people across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, with the hospice anticipating a 40 per cent growth in the coming years due to a growing older population.

Mr Hartley added: “Much of what we do is supported by our local communities.

“I think there are strengths in that, and we need to retain healthy and reciprocal relationships with our biggest advocates, but it only works with consistent, competent and planned funding from our NHS partners.

“We also need our relationships with them to be healthy and reciprocal, but we can no longer sit back and ignore this – we will not sit back and ignore this.”