Sue Ryder issues stark warning to Government that UK hospice services will collapse without imminent funding reform

Sue Ryder is today releasing a public warning to the Government that hospice services in the UK are in a state of crisis and will collapse without imminent funding reform.

Two Sue Ryder nurses and a patient

Heidi Travis, Sue Ryder CEO, said:

“Adult hospices receive, on average, just one third of their funding from the NHS with the rest of hospice revenue coming from fundraising efforts. This is not a financially sustainable model.

“Nine out of ten members surveyed by Hospice UK last year said they lacked the resources to meet the increasing demand for their services and 40 of the 200 independent hospices in the UK are thought to be at risk of imminent closure due to extreme financial difficulties.

“Nine out of ten members surveyed by Hospice UK last year said they lacked the resources to meet the increasing demand for their services and 40 of the 200 independent hospices in the UK are thought to be at risk of imminent closure due to extreme financial difficulties.”

Heidi Travis, Sue Ryder CEO

“That number will continue to increase significantly as hospices can simply no longer survive without a properly funded national model for palliative care.

“Additional hospice closures will have a chilling effect on the NHS, increasing pressures on already stretched hospitals, ambulance services and out of hours GPs, as well as causing further distress to the families and carers of the terminally ill.

A Sue Ryder nurse holding a patient's hand

“Sue Ryder operates seven hospices across the UK providing inpatient and hospice at home care. Since 2014-15 six out of seven of those have either seen a fall in their statutory funding or it has remained the same, whilst we have watched costs and patient demand rise significantly.

“In August 2019, the Government announced a £25 million cash injection for end of life care, and in the recent general election the Conservative Party said it would build on this to “support our precious hospices”. However, the cash injection is a sticking plaster solution and warm words do not begin to address the underlying problems.

“Sue Ryder is calling for the Government to instigate an urgent, detailed review of funding for the UK’s hospices and put in place a robust and equitable system that will end the postcode lottery of palliative care.

“Without radical reform, UK hospices providing end of life care to the terminally ill and support to their families, cannot survive. In short, people who need palliative care will not receive it.”

 

Read Heidi's comments in this article published on Friday 31st January 2020 in The Daily Mirror about the crisis facing UK hospices.