National charity with hospices in Beds and Cambs could be forced to cut end of life services

Sue Ryder St Johns Hospice could be affected by the funding shortfall. Picture: Sue Ryder St John's

Sue Ryder St Johns Hospice could be affected by the funding shortfall. Picture: Sue Ryder St John's Hospice - Credit: Archant

A national charity that provides care and support for those living with terminal illnesses and neurological conditions is appealing for your help to keep its end of life service going during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sue Ryder, which has its Stagenhoe neurological care centre in St Paul’s Walden near Hitchin, has launched an emergency appeal to save its hospice services in Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

Before the coronavirus outbreak, statutory funding only covered approximately one third of the costs involved in running the charity’s end of life care.

The charity covered the rest of its costs with fundraising efforts and income from its 450 shops nationwide. With events now cancelled and shops closed, the charity has a matter of months before it will have to close its hospices and hospice at home services across the country.

In total, Sue Ryder will have a funding gap of £12 million over the next three months. Without immediate financial support, the critical end of life care that Sue Ryder provides to thousands of families each year will cease.

The funding shortfall comes at a time when the NHS is relying on Sue Ryder to support them in caring for thousands of families as part of the fight against COVID-19. The charity continues to plead with the Government for emergency funding, but in desperation has now turned to the public in a bid to save its hospices.

Heidi Travis, chief executive at Sue Ryder, said: “We have been calling on the Government to support us but no funding has materialised.

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“The country will lose its hospices at a time when they are needed most.

“This is a plea and no less, we cannot wait any longer.

“Our doctors and nurses are working night and day to provide end of life care to more people now and in the coming weeks, than ever before.

“We are a critical front-line support service in the fight against coronavirus yet we are on the brink of closure.

“We are all facing something we have never faced before and we are asking the public to give whatever you can afford to help us to help those who need it most.”

The Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice in Moggerhanger and specialist palliative care inpatient unit in Peterborough are among the charity’s units which could be affected.