Islanders are being urged to lobby politicians in a bid to rescue an under-threat hospice in the Western Isles.
Bethesda Hospice, based in Stornoway, has four beds to care for terminally-ill patients.
But a statement issued through the hospice claims it is not receiving the proper level of funding it believes it should from NHS Western Isles and faces a £138,000 deficit this year.
It is feared the facility could close if the situation does not improve, with the next nearest hospice in Inverness.
Western Isles health board previously paid 50% of the hospice services under a Scottish Government arrangement. The remainder was found through fundraising with support from islanders.
The split has reduced over the past decade and Bethesda’s burden of shoring up the shortfall is now reaching crisis point, they claim.
Recent changes means NHS funding for the hospice is channelled though the Western Isles health and social care partnership, the Western Isles Integration Joint Board (IJB).
The statement issued by Bethesda Hospice said: “Could we ask any supporters of Bethesda Hospice to email [local MSP] Alasdair Allan or Jeane Freeman, cabinet secretary for health and sport, as we need all the support we can to show that Bethesda Hospice funding should be at a level to continue with the current service and beyond.”
They claim the historic 50% agreement to fund running costs has not happened for a number of years, creating an increasing shortfall in funding.
The statement adds: “The generosity of the community has enabled us to bridge the gap in the past, but this is no longer sustainable.
“Bethesda Hospice needs the community to let their councillors and health board representatives know of their concerns for the survival of the service.”
MSP Alasdair Allan said: “The work that Bethesda does in the community in terms of supporting those with full-time care needs, including those at the end of their lives and requiring palliative care, is absolutely invaluable.
“I believe we are lucky to have this service and that we cannot afford to lose it.
“It is clearly wrong that Bethesda has not had an uplift in support from the health board since 2011, and I am troubled about the effect of this underfunding to their finances.
“There is a pressing need for the IJB to enter into a new agreement with Bethesda which guarantees appropriate levels of funding.”
A health authority spokeswoman said: “The delivery of high quality and effective palliative and end of life care is a key strategic priority for NHS Western Isles.
“NHS Western Isles has worked closely with Bethesda Hospice over the years to ensure that the best possible outcomes are being achieved by both parties, and at each review, agree the level of funding for the next period.
“We have been in discussion with Bethesda over the last period about a new service level agreement and an improved funding offer has been made.
“The Bethesda Board is currently considering this offer, which is sensitive to the financial position of both organisations. We remain committed to a positive outcome.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Independent hospices provide essential palliative and end-of-life care to people across Scotland and integration authorities invest millions of pounds annually in supporting this vital work.
“We are pleased to note that the Western Isles Integrated Joint Board has submitted a revised financial offer to Bethesda, which is due to be considered imminently – and we are keen to see a solution identified which best meets the palliative care needs of those living in the Western Isles.