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Helping Hospices

This year more than 400 gardens across England and Wales will be open during the NGS Festival Garden Weekend from 4 to 5 June 2016.

The National Gardens Scheme is the largest funder of Hospice UK’s work donating £500,000 in 2016. Every year privately owned gardens are open to the public, charging a small donation for entry to support a network of over 200 hospices across the UK.

Hospices in the UK care for around 360,000 people every year, and Hospice UK works closely with them to support their work.

In a fatal asbestos and mesothelioma compensation claim, such as mesothelioma, it has long been established that the estate of the deceased claimant can claim an amount to compensate the family for the gratuitous care which the deceased received from them.

However what is sometimes overlooked is that the costs incurred by a hospice in providing care in the final weeks of the deceased’s life can also be recovered in a claim. The estate of the deceased can pursue and include within their claim the costs of a voluntary carer, like a family member. As the claim is made for the cost of voluntary care there is no reason to restrict this only to family and friends and so a claim can also be made on behalf of the hospice for the value of their gratuitous care.

If the costs of hospice care were charged fully to the estate then it would be possible to claim this in full from the defendants. However, a hospice, for charitable reasons, imposes no charge to a family for palliative care and there is no reason that an estate cannot recover on trust for a hospice the donation element of their overall costs, excluding the element of any NHS funding.

In practice the Finance Officer or Director of a hospice can set out this information stating how they are funded and the proportion that is through gratuitous donation. If the hospice can set out the daily or weekly costs of care then the element funded by donation can be calculated and recovered within a claim.

Claimant lawyers can therefore help to offset the cost to the hospice by making the wrongdoer pay this element of the claim and return these funds to the hospice so they can continue to provide this vital service.