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Financial allocation for hospices welcome, but not enough, says Bradshaw

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has warned the multi-million pound allocation to hospices and the Cancer Fund for Children will not suffice to cover the needs of the charitable sector to fill gaps at this time.

The £6.75 million package announced by the Department of Finance is designed to help support local hospices with the financial challenges facing them during the pandemic thanks to loss of donations and closure of their retail outlets.

“Clearly any allocation of extra funds is welcome, but there is a significant concern this is insufficient to meet the wide-ranging demands of people relying on charitable services as a whole.” said South Belfast MLA Ms Bradshaw.

“What is required is a fundamental understanding that risking the collapse of some aspects of the charitable sector is not a way to save money, as the public sector will have to fill the gap anyway. For example, we have charities available and able to provide cancer screening which currently cannot, with the potential for vital diagnoses to be missed.

“One clear thing we should be learning from the current crisis is the need for early diagnosis and proper research so we understand fully the conditions we are dealing with and are able to intervene early. We need more targeted funding allocations to ensure we can do this.”