ISLAND charity Mountbatten has announced it is to lead a new partnership with a mainland hospice.

The ground-breaking partnership between Mountbatten IW and the NHS-run Countess Mountbatten Hospice in Southampton will explore ways that Mountbatten can utilise its leadership and support for the mainland hospice to continue developing its services as an independent charity.

Islanders can be reassured that all the money raised to support Mountbatten on the Island will stay here.

Mountbatten said the IW team's innovation, leadership and experience makes them a significant leader in end of life care on the national stage.

The partnership will see Mountbatten's strategy of wanting to reach more people and work in partnership move forward, and ensure that services for the IW community as they face death, dying and bereavement are secure for the future.

The partnership is a result of an invitation from Southampton City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), West Hampshire CCG and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, which currently runs the hospice with additional financial support from the Countess Mountbatten Hospice Charity.

Mountbatten chief executive Nigel Hartley said: "We want to be clear to our Island community what this means, both for them and for Mountbatten.

"Mountbatten IW and Countess Mountbatten Hospice, Southampton, will continue to run as completely separate charities, with a separate set of financial accounts and separate staff and volunteers.

"No money raised to support Mountbatten will be used to support Countess Mountbatten. Some money from Countess Mountbatten will pay for our leadership expertise and support, which will form a new income stream for Mountbatten IW.

"Both hospices will remain separately registered with and inspected by the Care Quality Commission. The essence of the partnership will be based on strategic advice and support from Mountbatten's senior management team, enabling the mainland team to extend their services in their own community and start additional services such as bereavement support and hospice at home.

"We hear daily of services moving from the IW to the mainland, due to lack of financial and human resource, but this partnership sees the IW take the lead in something that is essential to develop and to sustain for our Island's future.

"As well as feeling proud that we are being noticed for our outstanding services and innovations, this partnership firmly places us in charge.

"We are seeing many more IW patients in Southampton Hospital and Mountbatten works hard to bring them back to the Island to die in the places that they wish.

"We need a foot on the mainland to stay in control of our Island's future care. We also know that, although we will not share any money raised locally between the two organisations, the scale of the partnership will attract interest and funding from national larger bodies, particularly to support our newer developments, which are aimed at developing a sustainable hospice blueprint for the future.

"We also plan to lead on new career pathway developments for our Island's younger people, creating new opportunities with Southampton University for nurse and social care training.

"I am delighted that the hard work and commitment of our staff, volunteers and Island community has led to us being seen as a beacon of excellence and that an Island organisation is being recognised for something that other areas of the mainland want to replicate.

"We urge our Island community to continue to support their local hospice, as we will be needed more and more in the future as local demand rises due to our growing older population and the continued stress on health and social care services."

Dr Mark Kelsey, clinical chair at NHS Southampton City CCG, said on behalf of local NHS commissioners: "Countess Mountbatten Hospice is much-loved and valued by the local community. This new partnership will build on that work and we look forward to working with Mountbatten to make sure local people at the end of their lives, and their families, receive outstanding care and support."