Sunshine Hospice future in question as financial cloud looms

THE future of a hospice which has nursed hundreds of terminally ill people is under a cloud, with a funding crisis threatening to force its closure.

Sunshine Hospice, formerly known as Katie Rose Cottage, is believed to be in serious financial difficulty and its directors were yesterday attempting to secure emergency funding from the State Government.

The Daily fielded several phone calls from members of the public, concerned the Doonan hospice would close.

Some were angry the situation had been allowed to deteriorate without the community being asked for support.

The hospice is believed to receive the bulk of its funding from five retail outlets and donations.

Board chairman Frank Lewin late yesterday told the Daily no decision had been made about the facility's future.

"We are waiting on word from the State Government and have been promised an answer by tomorrow (Friday)," he said.

"The details in that response will determine how the future is played out."

Mr Lewin was not prepared to discuss the hospice's financial situation and said the board was "preparing a statement" for the media but had to be cautious as there were "too many unknowns".

"In the meantime we are meeting with nursing staff and volunteers," he said.

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 this week.

He told the Daily he was confident the facility could be saved.

"All indications we got from the meeting with some very senior Queensland Health officials was very positive," he said.

"A Queensland senator who I know well and work with well has also gone into bat for them and has told me there was a very positive feeling about it.

"What we continued to hear since the meeting has all been positive, so I remain confident of a positive outcome."

One man angry about the situation is James Douris who said hospice staff had nursed his mum before she died from Motor Neuron disease last year.

He believed the facility's financial plight should have been explained to staff, volunteers and the community well before it became critical.

"No one knew they were in trouble," he said.

"If they'd told us a month ago, the community would have helped.

"It's unbelievable - the board should be sacked.

"The people who work there were so good to my mum and deserve a lot better treatment than this."

It was a view shared by Noosa's Ray Brown, who had a close friend in the hospice before her death several years ago.

"Every time you go in there it's a bit of a tearful occasion but the whole place made you think she was in the right spot," he said.

"I'm glad she spent her last few days there."