Hospice’s fears over new lottery

editorial image

CHESTERFIELD’S Ashgate Hospice has accused the new Health Lottery of potentially depriving seriously ill north Derbyshire patients of vital care.

The hospice, on Ashgate Road, which operates as a charity and provides free specialist care for the terminally ill, fears people may turn their backs on its lottery to play the Health Lottery.

Ashgate Hospice fundraising chief Joanne Edwards said: “Our weekly lottery is an essential source of income.

“We’re extremely concerned the Health Lottery could divert significant amounts of money away from local hospice care in this difficult economic climate.”

The hospice, which launched a No to the Health Lottery campaign, argued the national game will donate just over 20p to charity for every £1 spent on tickets.

It revealed that for every £1 received by the Ashgate Hospice Lottery 80p goes to patient care in the area and the rest covers prizes and costs and this year alone it needs £2.7m from voluntary contributions.

Ms Edwards added: “Although we’re grateful to the NHS for providing some running costs this represents less than half of our funding and unfortunately if the income from our lottery is reduced it will pose a real threat to service provision.

“We’re urging people who care about their local hospice to say no to the Health Lottery and carry on playing their local hospice lottery.”

Ashgate Hospice’s campaign is supported by the national Help the Hospices charity.

Help the Hospices chief executive David Phrail said: “We’re very concerned this new lottery could have a serious impact on the vital funds generated by hospice lotteries.”

The Health Lottery, run by the Northern & Shell media, launched last month and said it aims to raise £50m a year for health causes across Britain but it does not intend to subsidise or finance NHS projects.

It stated it would be working with communities to identify ways funding can support health.

A spokesman said: “We are confident our lottery will not impact adversely on local hospice lotteries and we would not want it to.”

l What do you think about the new health lottery? Email comment@derbyshiretimes.co.uk.