South Swindon MP Sir Robert Buckland has spoken of his support for Prospect Hospice after the charity issued an urgent appeal for funding.

The former Lord Chancellor's comments come after charity chief executive Jeremy Lune highlighted a £1 million gap between the hospice’s current finances and the amount it needs to continue providing end-of-life care to people in Wiltshire.

MPs were due to discuss the matter in parliament as part of a wider debate on hospices that was due to be held earlier this month, but it was then pulled out of the schedule and a new date for the discussion has not yet been confirmed.

Sir Robert said: “Ever since first becoming a Member of Parliament here in South Swindon back in 2010, I have worked very closely with the dedicated team at the Prospect Hospice.

“Since 1980, Prospect Hospice has been working hard to provide an excellent dedicated end-of-life care service for people here in South Swindon and beyond, providing a broad range of services to thousands of patients, carers, and family members every year.

“I regularly visit Prospect Hospice to meet with the team, as well as promoting the work of the hospice in parliament, and I have also enjoyed taking part in many fundraising events on behalf of the charity over the years.

“I am very keen to speak in the planned hospice debate in parliament, in strong support of this excellent local charity’s work, so I was disappointed when the debate was withdrawn due to insufficient time.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Sir Robert Buckland Sir Robert Buckland “However, it is vital that this very important debate is given the time that it rightly needs and deserves.

“I will be watching closely for the new hospice debate date to be announced, and I still very much hope to be able to take part, on behalf of the many local residents who have contacted me about this issue, as well as the wonderful team at the Prospect Hospice.”

As a result of Prospect Hospice’s shortfall, the Wroughton-based facility has halved the amount of inpatient beds from a possible 12 to just six.

Mr Lune added: “We can’t afford to lose Prospect Hospice.

"The knock-on effect on already overstretched NHS services would be catastrophic, and the gap left by hospices like ours would rob people of their ability to have a good death surrounded by their loved ones.

“It’s so important we act now, while there’s still time for the government to meet its legal obligation to properly fund hospice care in England, and protect this important public service for years to come.”