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Daily issues front page plea after hospice closure warning

A regional daily has issued a front page plea to save closure-threatened hospices.

The Northern Echo has highlighted the plight of hospices in the North-East of England and North Cumbria, which have forecast spending an extra £1m on energy bills in the next 12 months at a time when they are already under pressure from other rising costs.

Hospice bosses have told the Darlington-based Echo they will be forced to close unless they get more help.

The Echo splashed on the issue on Friday, pictured below, having previously covered the topic last year.

NE hospices

The newspaper said in an accompanying comment piece: “Five months ago, the Northern Echo called for imaginative thinking from our politicians in a bid to stave off this inescapable storm.

“At a national level, we cannot say that that has happened, although it is good to see our local Conservative and Labour MPs coming together to try to work through the problem.

“A start, say the hospices, would be for the NHS to pay them a fair price for the work they do on the NHS’s behalf.

That may keep the wolf from the door for the moment, but it cannot end the long-term spiral of falling donations, increasing costs and ever-growing demand.

“A solution is not easy to see, although it does seem that the taxpayer is going to have to bear a greater share of the costs if only to prevent even more blocked beds in the NHS.

“Of all the crises facing the country at the moment, this is a huge one which has a big impact on ordinary people.”