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Should hospices be entirely funded by the Government?

Hartlepool and District Hospice could be forced to get rid of vital beds and axe jobs in a bid to stave off financial meltdown.

Five staff were axed 12 months ago and the cash-strapped hospice faced a race against time to find funds to meet its £2.5m-a-year running costs.

But as the cash-crisis continues, hospice chiefs revealed it was looking at ways of saving more money – with job losses and the removal of beds which cater for patients with terminal illnesses also under threat.