By Bejay Browne
Health Minister Philippos Patsalis visited the Friends hospice in Paphos on Thursday, meeting staff, volunteers and patients.
The facility first opened in 2006 and is financed almost completely by fund raising events, income from the charity shops and donations. The hospice provides palliative and respite care for people suffering with life-limiting illnesses, and their families.
President of the Friends’ Hospice Foundation, Chris Jones, said the minister told staff and volunteers that their initiative in offering palliative care for the people of the region was “wonderful”.
The hospice is housed in a dedicated six bed wing at St. George’s Polyclinic in Paphos.
Jones said: “The minister said there is now a system in place to allow charitable organisations offering medical assistance, to apply for government grants and he promised to look favourably on any application made by the hospice.”
Jones also said that Patsalis would support any fund raising efforts by the charity, as he said the people of Paphos need the facility. “The minister also noted that he is determined to press ahead with healthcare reforms throughout the island, with the good of patients at the centre of the plans.”
Patsalis praised the work undertaken at the hospice as he met staff, doctors and volunteers. He also had a few quiet words, in private, with four patients there.
Jones, said that he has already presented the minister with a full breakdown of the hospice’s accounts and assured him that any public funding granted to support the charity would be spent wisely and transparently.
“With doctors, surgeons, trained nurses and volunteers on hand day and night, the friends’ hospice is a very cost-effective model of palliative care. The annual figure for maintaining this specialised service is between €250,000 and €300,000.”
Since opening in 2006, The Friends’ Hospice has cared for 1,026 patients – 70 per cent of them Cypriot and the others of all different nationalities, said Jones.