Hospice UK Warns of £77 Million Deficit, Risking End-of-Life Care Services

Hospice UK warns of a £77 million deficit, threatening essential end-of-life care in the UK. Urgent government funding needed to sustain these vital services.

author-image
Olalekan Adigun
New Update
Hospice UK Warns of £77 Million Deficit, Risking End-of-Life Care Services

Hospice UK Warns of £77 Million Deficit, Risking End-of-Life Care Services

Hospice UK, a leading charity, has sounded the alarm over a projected £77 million deficit for hospices across the United Kingdom in the 2023-24 financial year. The organization warns that this significant funding gap could endanger essential end-of-life care, as hospices confront rising staffing costs and inadequate government support.

The impending financial crisis in the hospice sector was recently debated in the House of Commons, where MPs urged the government to address the pressing issue. Hospice UK emphasizes the urgent need for increased and sustainable funding to ensure that hospices can continue providing essential palliative and end-of-life care to those in need.

The primary driver behind the projected deficit is the rapidly escalating cost of staff salaries, as hospices strive to match NHS pay and conditions to attract and retain skilled healthcare professionals. Barbara Anne Walker, Chief Executive of Ashgate Hospice, highlighted the challenges faced by individual hospices, stating that her charity would need to raise nearly 70% of its funds, amounting to £11 million, from the local community in North Derbyshire.

Why this matters: The hospice sector plays a vital role in providing compassionate care and support to over 300,000 individuals and their families each year in the UK. The projected £77 million deficit threatens the sustainability of these essential services, potentially forcing hospices to cut back on their offerings and placing additional strain on the already overburdened NHS.

Hospice UK's report underscores the dire consequences if the government and NHS fail to increase funding for the sector. With less than 25% of hospice costs currently covered by central government, hospices are heavily reliant on charitable fundraising to keep their doors open and continue delivering care to patients and families during the most challenging times.

The merger of Martlets Hospice, St Barnabas House, and Chestnut Tree House aims to create a stronger, more sustainable organization that can improve access to specialist palliative and end-of-life care. However, the financial downturn in the sector, with 67% of hospices reporting deficits in the first half of 2023, highlights the urgent need for government intervention and increased statutory funding to ensure the long-term viability of these vital services.

Key Takeaways

  • Hospice UK warns of £77M deficit for UK hospices in 2023-24, endangering end-of-life care.
  • Rising staff costs and inadequate government support are driving the financial crisis in the hospice sector.
  • Hospices rely heavily on charitable fundraising, with only 25% of costs covered by the government.
  • The merger of Martlets Hospice, St Barnabas House, and Chestnut Tree House aims to improve sustainability.
  • 67% of hospices reported deficits in the first half of 2023, highlighting the urgent need for increased funding.