The team at Windsor's much loved Thames Hospice has been asked to take charge of palliative care for terminally ill people across the area.

But the hospice's chief executive Debbie Raven has warned that the 'promotion' is unlikely to end its continuing financial struggle for survival.

Until now it has only received 20 per cent of its funding from the National Health Service but Mrs Raven said that increasing income as a result of the new commission would be offset by an increase in the demand for its services.

She said: "We will never be in a position where more than 40 to 50 per cent of our funding comes from the NHS and we will always be dependent on community support."

East Berkshire’s Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) – which buy medical services across Ascot, Windsor and Maidenhead - have commissioned the team at the hospice in Hatch Lane to take control from next April. It had previously been proving the service jointly with the old Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

The hospice operates as a charity and relies on public support, fund raising events and its charity shops. But it has become an invaluable resource and will soon be moving to larger new premises at Braywick to meet demand for its services.

Having its services commissioned by the CCGs will mean that from next April palliative care patients will now have access to the hospice's therapies, counselling, rapid response service and 24/7 advice line.

Mrs Raven said: "We are thrilled that the CCGs of East Berkshire have commissioned us to lead the delivery of all specialist palliative care services to our local community. This announcement demonstrates their continued commitment to investing in end-of-life and palliative care services in East Berkshire and in us as the organisation to lead this more cohesive model.”