Hospice healthcare 'hanging by a thread' says cash strapped Sue Ryder

Sue Ryder hospice staff.

Sue Ryder are calling for more government funding so that their hospices, such as Thorpe Hall in Cambridgeshire, can continue. - Credit: Archant

Sue Ryder has called on the government to help them continue providing end-of-life care across Cambridgeshire, or face the risk of collapse. 

The charity, which looks after residents in the county including in Fenland through its Thorpe Hall Hospice, wants the government to fund 70 per cent of costs for the palliative care sector, an additional £313m a year. 

An independent report commissioned by the charity found that 28pc of the Thorpe Hall Hospice’s costs were funded by statutory income, while the remaining 72pc was covered by fundraising efforts. 

Sue Ryder also found the hospice sector would be required to fundraise £597m a year to keep them open if government funding remained the same. 

Heidi Travis, chief executive at Sue Ryder, said: “It is unfathomable that such a critical part of our healthcare system is hanging by a thread.  

“Whilst the government has provided some one-off funding in the past year to allow hospices to support our NHS during the pandemic, the hospice sector has papered over the cracks for as long as possible.   

“The country’s hospices can no longer operate with ad-hoc financial ‘top-ups’ that do not fundamentally address the serious long-term funding crisis facing the hospice sector.” 

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Without more funding, Sue Ryder said the NHS would have to provide end-of-life care which could equate to £484m more each year from the government. 

However, the charity believes the same level of care would not be given and capacity stretched, meaning some families would miss out. 

Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice in Peterborough

Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice in Peterborough, cares for people with life-limiting conditions and their loved ones across the local region, including Fenland. - Credit: Sue Ryder

Emma Rayner, whose mother died at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice, paid testament to the care her family received. 

She said: “Once mum was transferred to the hospice, I felt like a weight had been lifted and I was able to just be her daughter again. 

“It would be a massive loss to society if hospices were not able to carry on doing the amazing work they carry out.” 

MP Barbara Keeley, member of the Health and Social Care Select Committee, said: “Hospices are a vital part of our healthcare system, allowing people to spend the end of their lives in a supportive and caring environment with their family and loved ones.   

“Despite this, the government provides only a third of the funding hospices need to function and its approach of offering short-term financial packages, which are not adequate to the needs of the sector, cannot continue.” 

To donate or for more information, visit: https://www.sueryder.org/.