Marie Curie is to stop providing home nursing services to dying patients in Sheffield following planned changes to NHS funding.
The charity says it can no longer afford to provide visits to terminally-ill patients under the terms of a new contract from Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group.
Fifteen nurses and healthcare assistants are to be affected.
Under the current contract, Marie Curie pays half the cost of running the service. But it says the new contract would mean it paying almost 90 per cent of the costs. New providers will be chosen by the end of this month and should start working in Sheffield from October.
Caroline Hamblett, director of services at Marie Curie, said: “Much as we would like to continue to deliver such a service in the area, to compete for the contract Marie Curie would have to increase its traditional 50/50 subsidy by a very significant amount. We will be supporting our staff through this difficult period and remain in discussion with the CCG to see how else we can help the people of Sheffield.”
Under the terms of the current deal, Marie Curie says the majority of its care to terminally-ill patients in their own homes is provided at night on longer shifts, with nurses providing intensive one-to-one support.
But the charity says the new contract requires shorter periods of care, which it would be unable to provide. Sheffield CCG say the retendering of contracts is not down to budget reductions and the new hourly rate is higher than under the current arrangement.
Kevin Clifford, NHS Sheffield CCG chief nurse, said: “We are undertaking a retendering process of some of the home-based end of life care services with the intention of improving the timeliness of the service at the same time as maintaining quality. The CCG has proposed an indicative day time hourly rate for the service which is actually higher than the current arrangement.”