Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves MP, visits Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice

Influencing team
30 Jan 2024
Three women and one man smile at the camera.

Heidi Travis (Chief Executive of Sue Ryder), Paul Musgrave (Service Director at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice), Rachel Reeves MP and Emma Vasey (Head of Influencing and Engagement at Sue Ryder).

On Friday 26th January, Shadow Chancellor and MP for Leeds West, Rachel Reeves, visited Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice to meet with representatives from Sue Ryder, Hospice UK and St Gemma’s Hospice in Leeds.

Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice provides care to people who live in Rachel Reeves' constituency. Rachel’s visit was planned so that she could see the care patients receive and speak about the issues facing the hospice sector.  

Hospices provide high-quality and holistic support to over 300,000 patients and their families every year. Hospices combine specialist medical care for managing pain and other symptoms, with other emotional, practical and spiritual support. Despite providing this high-quality care to so many, the sector is often not properly recognised and supported. We were pleased to have the opportunity to demonstrate the value of our services. 

We discussed how providing the hospice sector with sustainable income would help improve the care that’s available for people in their homes and in their communities, by allowing hospice services to provide more care at home and services in the local area. It would ensure more could be done to tackle inequalities at the end of life. As well as, supporting the wider health system in a number of ways, including by helping to prevent emergency hospital admissions.

We asked for hospice sector funding to be reviewed, and we outlined the potential that the sustainable funding of hospice services, which are central to many communities, could have for meeting Labour’s healthcare aims. 

We also spoke about the need to reform how funding is allocated and improve integration between different care services. 

Paul Musgrave, Service Director at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice said:

“This was a brilliant opportunity to highlight the stark challenges hospices face in continuing to deliver end-of-life care in the face of rising costs and a predicted increase in the number of people who will need this care. 

“And yet there is more which needs to be done. Not all those who would benefit from hospice care are currently able to access it, and people’s needs are changing. Hospices want to work with government and decision-makers to make sure these needs are met, so we really welcomed this great opportunity to have this conversation with Rachel.”

Rachel Reeves MP sits on a pink sofa.  She has mid length brunette hair.  She is speaking to Jane, who we can only see from the back.

Rachel meeting Jane

Rachel visited the Inpatient Unit and heard firsthand from staff and patients about the vital care that hospices provide to those at the end of life. Finally, Rachel met with one of her constituents, Jane, whose husband was cared for by staff at Wheatfields Hospice and heard about her experiences with the hospice.

Following the visit Rachel Reeves, MP shared:

“We are so fortunate to have two fantastic hospices in Leeds, Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice and St Gemma's, which play a vital role in our city. It was a privilege to visit Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice where I met staff and heard about the challenges facing hospices, both locally and nationally.  

“I particularly want to thank all the patients who took the time to speak to me about their experiences as well as my constituent, Jane, who shared her experience of having a loved one treated by the hospice.”

We will continue to engage with MPs to highlight the challenges in the hospice sector and raise awareness of its vital work.

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