Cost-saving measures over the past few years have resulted in Marie Curie moving out of deficit and posting a net income of £3m, its latest annual report shows.

The document submitted to Companies House for the year ended 31 March 2018 said it had ‘decided not to renew a number of nursing service contracts where disproportionately high costs’ meant it was unable to provide the most effective care.

Only ‘a small number of contracts’ were not renewed in places where other established services were in place, it said.

Total income at the charity for people with terminal illness, which included donations, investments and retail sales, was up slightly to £159.3m, from £159.1m in 2017.

Expenditure was down to £157.7m, from £165m in 2017. Its gains on investments helped it achieve a net income for this year, from a deficit of £688,000 in 2017.

Its nurses cared for 32,692 people at home this year (2017: 33,543), but research carried out by the charity highlighted a lack of specialist support for those with advanced dementia. Despite having complex needs, fewer than a third of people (28%) were seen by a palliative care team.

In January, working with Norfolk Hospice and NHS Trust Norfolk Community Health and Care, Marie Curie launched a specialist service for people living with advanced dementia in Norfolk.

Across its nine hospices, it cared for 8,210 people.

To reflect changing society it replaced the traditional chaplain role at its Cardiff and the Vale hospice with a spiritual care co-ordinator to improve the experiences of black and minority ethnic people using the service.

More than 185,000 health and social care professionals visited its knowledge zone, an online platform for those who do not specialise in palliative care.

The charity answered more than 9,000 calls to its support line last year, and while telephone demand remained high, Marie Curie said people were increasingly getting in touch online. It conducted 5% more web chats than the previous year – 1,073 in total.

Last week, the charity appointed Matthew Reed as its new chief executive. He will begin his role in February and takes over from Dr Jane Collins, who has led the organisation for past six years.