Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP, Angus B MacNeil has written to Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman MSP regarding the ongoing financial dispute between Bethesda Hospice and the Western Isles Integration Joint Board (IJB).  

Mr MacNeil is backing the call made by Alasdair Allan MSP, that the Scottish Government mediate between Bethesda Hospice and the Integration Joint Board.

Commenting Angus MacNeil MP said:

“I recently met with management from the Bethesda Hospice and I was able to hear detailed information about the financial situation.  It was also good to hear about the invaluable work being undertaken by all staff, who were highly praised by Manager, Carol Somerville.  The level of care and commitment to their work is in no doubt.

“Bethesda management tell me that the percentage of their budget they receive from the Health Board is 32.36% for the year 2018/2019 compared to 49.45% over 10 years ago – this when the Health Board’s budget has risen.

“They further point out that there is a double subsidy going on around Bethesda – it is not just the community that subsidise the hospice by fundraising but also the staff.  I was also told that the 90 staff at Bethesda work without many of the perks and benefits of other similar workplaces. 

“Hospices deserve a fairer slice of the pie and can’t be as reliant as they have been on fundraising, which is ongoing to make up for the inevitable gap,  Indeed, I recall taking part in a sponsored cycle to Uig to raise funds for Bethesda Hospice when I was a pupil in the Nicolson Institute in the late 80s.   Bethesda Hospice is an important asset to the community and deserves all the support it can get.

“I have written to Jeane Freeman MSP to request that the Scottish Government get involved and facilitate talks between Bethesda Hospice management and the IJB to get a resolution to this funding problem.  I think that Manager, Carol Somerville, makes the case for Bethesda funding to rise and the argument now is really about how much and how soon.”