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Health Minister Tony Ryall has paid tribute to New Zealand's hospice staff and volunteers during a visit to Te Omanga Hospice in Lower Hutt this morning, to celebrate the extra $15 million for hospices announced in yesterday's Budget.
Mr Ryall says "What these people do in our communities, day and night is humbling. This morning I met one of the Te Omanga hospice founders, who borrowed money against her home to start the hospice, and is still serving on the Board 30 years later."
"And the numbers show how much Te Omanga gives to the community each year."
"Last year, care and support was provided to more than 600 patients and their families; home care nurses made more than seven and a half thousand visits to patients at home; and 450 volunteers gave more than 38,000 hours of their time for Te Omanga and its patients."
"Nationally, more than 13,000 people received care and support from hospices in 2008, with over 126,000 visits to people in their own homes. Over 7,000 volunteers gave more than 455,000 hours to hospices."
Hospice educators from around the country were also at Te Omanga this morning and the Minister gave his thanks to them for the work they do, as well as the staff and volunteers.