Dr. Frank Lewins, Chairman of Sunshine Hospice is happy with the new funding. 
Photo: Warren Lynam / Sunshine Coast Daily
Dr. Frank Lewins, Chairman of Sunshine Hospice is happy with the new funding. Photo: Warren Lynam / Sunshine Coast Daily Warren Lynam

Emergency funding for hospice

EMERGENCY government funding secured at the eleventh hour has kept the doors of Sunshine Hospice, formerly known as Katie Rose Cottage, open - for the moment.

On Monday morning two people arrived for care. On Friday afternoon the future of the hospice at Doonan, which has nursed hundreds of terminally ill people, was under a cloud.

Board chairman Frank Lewin welcomed the one-off emergency assistance.

"I think it (emergency funding) is a combination of the recognition by all the politicians we've lobbied over the last few years that what we are doing is special and also that we're the only hospice of its kind in Queensland, meaning we survive on our own efforts," Dr Lewin said.

"All the other hospices in south-east Queensland receive half a million dollars a year in recurrent funding ... we've had to engage in this extraordinary lobbying effort just to receive this emergency one-off assistance and it's a matter of equity here.

"The picture of our financial situation I think has been out there, it's just that the general public don't notice it and notice what we've been saying.

"It's a reasonable concern among people in the public who think 'Why didn't they tell us?'

"We didn't want to make a scene of it and we were really pushed until last week, we realised that we can't go on like this.

"Other than our ceasing to take new patients from Monday (last week), at no stage has the hospice closed."

Dr Lewin said the hospice was empty over the weekend but only because the sole patient wanted to go home on Friday.

Noosa MP Glen Elmes has been pushing for urgent government funding to save the facility and organised a meeting between the hospice's board and senior Queensland Health officials on Friday.

"I am very pleased we were able to help.

"Late Friday Queensland Health gave the surety of funding that ensures the hospice can start admitting patients from today (Monday) and it's now up to them to go back to Queensland Health to secure long-term funding."


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