A hospice has been met with a “devastating blow” after its funding was cut – and backdated by four months.

The NHS has reduced the £900,000 it gives the Peace Hospice, in Prospect Drive, Watford, each year by £163,000.

To make matters worse for the charity, the cut is being backdated to the start of the financial year, April 1.

Declan Carroll, the chief executive of Peace Hospice Care, has been left concerned by the news.

He said: “This is a devastating blow but not just in terms of finances but for anyone facing life-limiting illness, as well as their families and carers.

“We want to be doing more to help these people at such a difficult and emotional time, not thinking about doing less. We’ve always received tremendous support from the local community and I hope that will continue as we face the challenge that these financial pressures present.”

The charity needs £5 million a year to deliver its free services to individuals, and their families, facing life-limiting illnesses in the area, including Borehamwood and St Albans.

The funding cuts mean that for every £1 of income the charity receives, less than 20p now comes from the NHS.

Peace Hospice Care is currently reviewing how it can meet the financial shortfall through both reducing costs and income generation.

A Herts Valleys CCG spokesperson said the body is continuing to address the financial pressures affecting the NHS.

“Last year, we deferred implementing the reduction in funding to the local hospices specifically in order to give them an opportunity to look at how they could work together to make efficiencies whilst maintaining a high level of care for patients – for example by streamlining administrative functions. This gave us all a chance to look at how else we could support our local hospices.”

The spokesperson added how the CCG has recently commissioned its local hopsices, including Peace Hospice, to provide a new service for patients diagnosed with life-limiting conditions who need care at home.

“This means that more of our patients will receive end of life care from the palliative care experts,” they added.

“We have invested around £950,000 across the local hospices to provide this service which will launch next month.”