ONE of our most loved hospices has been asked to take charge of palliative care for terminally ill people across the area.

The team at Windsor’s Thames Hospice in Hatch Lane will begin the delivery of end-of-life care, under an National Health Service (NHS) contract, in the spring of next year.

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 NHS 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 Slough, Bracknell, Ascot, Windsor and Maidenhead - have commissioned the team at the hospice in Hatch Lane to take control from next April. It had previously been providing 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 in 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 added: “We are thrilled that the CCGs of East Berkshire have commissioned us to lead the delivery.”