Our Save Our Hospices campaign is calling for urgent action from the Government to help thousands struggling financially in the face of the pandemic. The Covid-19 emergency has hit hospices particularly hard, with community fundraising decimated. Typically, these types of donation bring in about 70 per cent of their income, but in the first three months of the pandemic hospices lost around £100million, as charity shops closed and local events were cancelled.
After we revealed the scale of the crisis, Hospice UK backed our campaign and issued a rallying call for our generous readers to help in any way they could.
The charity’s director of advocacy Jonathan Ellis said: “As winter approaches, and the second wave of Covid accelerates, hospices are once again on the front line in supporting people and families, and reducing pressure on the NHS.
“Thank you to the Daily Express and its readers for supporting the hospice and end of life sector at this time through its tremendous campaign.”
The average adult hospice in England receives 32 per cent of its funding from Government health budgets, while children’s hospices get just 17 per cent.
It means most rely heavily on small-scale community fundraising events to stay solvent.
A recent survey by Hospice UK found that 93 per cent of facilities feared patients could miss out on vital support.
More than four in 10 said they would have to slash services to people with palliative and end-of-life needs.
At the height of the first wave of the pandemic hospices were caring for 24,000 people a day – three times more than the same period in 2019.
A Government spokesman said: “We are hugely grateful for the vital work hospices have continued to do during this challenging period.
“More than £150million of additional funding has already been made available to support them and hospice shops have benefitted from zero business rates, business interruption loans and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
“But we’re carefully considering what further assistance we can provide and want to thank the Daily Express and its readers for shining a light on this important issue.”
Comment by Jonathan Ellis
We estimate that in the first three months of the pandemic, hospices lost £100million as charity shops closed and fundraising events were cancelled.
Recognising the critical role that local hospices could play in supporting people and helping to free up hospitals to focus on the Covid response, the Government stepped in to buy capacity from hospices to make sure vital services could continue.
And for that we’re very grateful.
But the stark reality is, without the generosity of the public, this essential care is at risk.
We’ve seen brilliant examples of social media cake sales, virtual marathons and online quizzes to support hospices.
I’d urge Daily Express readers to get involved.
• Jonathan Ellis is the Director of Policy and Advocacy at Hospice UK