Cut to Strathcarron funding is delayed

Strathcarron Hospice chief executive Irene McKie with Princess Anne during a visit last year
Strathcarron Hospice chief executive Irene McKie with Princess Anne during a visit last year

Teminally ill people from Cumbernauld and Kilsyth will be able to continue attending Strathcarron Hospice as plans, which could have severed long-standing ties, have been delayed.

Strathcarron is regarded highly by residents of Cumbernauld and Kilsyth, which it has served for 38 years, providing care for locals with life-limiting illnesses.

Although located in Falkirk, Strathcarron’s catchment area also includes Stirlingshire, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire.

However, a report discussed at a meeting of the North Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Integration Joint Board in Motherwell Civic Centre last week, shows that this could have changed.

This report shows that in 2017 hospice services available to Lanarkshire residents were reviewed and Strathcarron, which provided six beds at that time for patients from Cumbernauld and Kilsyth, was set to be dropped from the list of hospices the health board would work with. Instead, patients from this area would be referred to St Andrew’s in Airdrie.

In addition to the in-house care, Strathcarron also has specialist outreach staff who work with patients in their own homes, including Cumbernauld and Kilsyth.

If implemented, this plan would result in Strathcarron losing more than £500,000 in direct funding – while also impacting its support base and related donations.

However, the hospice has been granted a stay of execution as members of the joint board agreed to delay their planned review of the contract with Strathcarron until December and continue its funding at the agreed amount, plus inflation.

The report states that the high standard of care at Strathcarron was an important factor in this decision. It states the local board “decided to commission additional services within Strathcarron Hospice in recognition of the high quality service that the hospice had delivered in the Cumbernauld and Kilsyth area over a number of years.”

During the meeting, depute council leader Paul Kelly said: “We are all aware of our hospices and the fantastic work they do.”

Speaking after the meeting, Strathcarron chief executive Irene McKie said: “We welcome the decision to restore our funding though remain concerned about the mid to long term picture. We would be devastated if we were no longer able to care for patients from Lanarkshire.”

Meanwhile, the hospice will be hosting a Ladies Lunch at the Westerwood Hotel on Friday, May 12 featuring an entertaining insight into the world of advocacy with Edith Forrest,.

For more information about the event visit www.strathcarronhospice.net.

Neil McGrory - Local Democracy Reporting Team