Katharine House Hospice faces staff funding crisis

Katharine House Hospice chief executive Angharad Orchard NNL-180716-172530001
Katharine House Hospice chief executive Angharad Orchard NNL-180716-172530001

Banburyshire’s hospice is facing a £250,000 shortfall over the next three years because of new government rules on NHS pay.

Katharine House chief executive Angharad Orchard has written to the six MPs whose residents use the hospice asking them to intervene, saying while it supports the proposed rises, it is worried about the impact on it and other hospices.

The Adderbury hospice is one of the majority in England that do not meet ‘Agenda for Change’ criteria for staff pay, so it will not be given a share of a fund to pay for expected pay rises.

Ms Orchard said: “It costs more than £4 million a year to provide our services and we only receive about a quarter from the government.

“The rest – about £3 million – comes from local people, businesses, and trusts and foundations. Without government support the extra cost for the pay rises can only be met by asking our communities to give more, or by reducing the services we provide.

“We simply can’t even begin to think about what services we might have to reduce if we do not receive the same additional funding that the NHS will receive.”

Agenda for Change is a set of pay increases for some NHS workers. Those outside the NHS can get help to fund comparable increases but only if they sign up to the Agenda for Change terms and conditions.

Katharine House, like the majority of hospices, uses Agenda for Change terms and conditions as a guide to their pay policies for clinical staff, rather than matching them exactly.

For instance it matches terms for things like pay, pensions, maternity leave and sick pay after the probationary period but some of the smaller benefits, such as mileage, are not matched because of the extra financial burden this would place on it as a charitable hospice.

The anticipated £250,000 shortfall is the equivalent of seven months’ community nursing service the hospice provides in Banburyshire, supporting hundreds of patients in their own homes and in care homes, with specialist medical care and support towards the end of their lives.

The hospice employs 120 staff including doctors, nurses, consultants, healthcare assistants and physiotherapists.

Its staff also includes the fundraising team, finance workers, IT specialists, housekeeping staff, caterers, a chaplain and those running its charity shops.

Some 350 volunteers, who save it £500k a year, fill a wide variety of roles.