GRAAFF-REINET NEWS - Camdeboo Hospice will have to severely limit its services from the end of October unless major funding is secured.
This stark news will have far-reaching implications, not only for the many patients receiving palliative care and support, but also for those who stand to lose their jobs.
Manager Susan van der Linde explained there are currently 135 registered patients, with a cost to the organisation of approximately R1 500 per patient per month. Of these patients, 93 are in Graaff-Reinet, 20 in Klipplaat, 12 in Jansenville and 10 in Aberdeen.
Hospice provides palliative care and support to patients suffering from HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and cancer.
In the past year, funding came from the Eastern Cape Department of Health (DOH), the National Lottery Commission (NLC) and the Foundation for Professional Development. Local funding is also received from Goldrush towards nutritional support of patients.
They receive no funding from the Department of Social Development.
Van der Linde said that as the funding period comes to an end, Hospice has not been able to find other funders to see them through. "When the Department of Health opens the tender process, application will be made," she said.
The NLC grant comes to an end in December 2019, and the salary portion the NLC funding has been depleted. There is now only enough to pay salaries until the end of October.
"At a board meeting last week, it was decided that we will stay open with limited staff, and we will only provide reduced services to Graaff Reinet for the time being," said Van der Linde, adding that if funding does become available, they will expand again in future.
From November, Hospice will operate with a full-time office manager responsible for all administrative functions and one professional nurse responsible for patient care. It will also employ a part-time fundraiser and cut the number of home-based carers to two, also part-time. The 'healthier' patients will attend support group meetings from October.
"At this stage, at least 20 people in this community are going to be without jobs at the end of October and many patients in the outlying towns are going to be left with no palliative care, no help with medication and nutrition and nobody to care for them in the midst of the worst time of their lives," said Samantha Graham-Maré, MP. "Many of those who will lose their jobs are single parents who often support extended families."
Shadow MEC for Health in Bhisho, Jane Cowley, MPL, raised the matter in the Provincial Legislature last week, and is pushing for the DOH to speed up the tender process.
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