Every year the demand grows and the cost of hospice care increases. The pledge for £25 million from the Government to help protect the vital care that hospices provide is news that is welcomed by Dorothy House.
Last week a reception was hosted by the Prime Minister at Downing Street to thank hospice front line staff for their work. Last night this article was published which promises a cash injection to invest in our services:
Tracey Bleakley, Chief Executive of Hospice UK, and Robert Peston, Chair of Hospice UK have been campaigning for funding. Having recently met with Health Secretary Matt Hancock to discuss the pressures facing hospices, he said:
“End of life is vitally important, and our NHS is committed to caring for you from cradle to grave. This cash boost will protect our precious hospices and palliative care services so people across the country will have the best, most personalised and dignified choices when they die.”
The logistics of the funding distribution and timing is unknown at this stage. What is known is that many hospices across the country are facing acute financial pressures and are running at a deficit. Dorothy House is not a stranger to this strain. Last year, for every £1 we received from the NHS we had to raise £4 to support the cost of our services. This year for every £1 we receive we now must raise £5.
The demand on our services, the challenges of our community living longer with more complex needs and financial uncertainty are all significant contributors to the funding pressures we face. While the £25m injection of cash for hospices is a positive step change, however, regular and sustainable giving is crucial to ensuring the future of our work.
Kate Tompkins (Chair of Trustees, Dorothy House) shared “We are delighted that Hospice UK have been successful in putting palliative and end of life care firmly on the government agenda and are grateful for the funding boost, but this must be the beginning of the journey. We are pleased that the government are committed to a broader funding review, and this must become a priority.
We have set ourselves goals to increase our non-cancer patients to 56% by 2025 and double the number of people we care for. These are ambitious goals but solely dictated by need. Our community deserves to have dignified and compassionate care at the end of their lives and feel empowered to plan ahead and be in control. We are committed to continuing the conversation with government.”
Our seven-year strategy is a bold and ambitious commitment to care for more people and from earlier in their diagnosis. It is the key to supporting our community so that they can continue to rely on Dorothy House to provide the highest quality care, enabling them to live well and have a peaceful and dignified death in their preferred place.
Wayne De Leeuw (Interim Chief Executive, Dorothy House) commented “We are running vital services in very challenging times, and difficult decisions have to be made on a daily basis. As a Hospice we are committed to being solution-focused and looking at new income streams to financially support the care that we provide. However, the projected need in our area will see us need to raise income from £7.6M to £13.5M by 2025.The passion and commitment of our community supporters provides us with an essential and much valued financial bedrock, but we need sustained support from our community as well as government support to enable our mission that everyone has access to outstanding palliative and end of life care.”
While the promise of government money will support the sector in relieving immediate workforce pressures, as a hospice movement we must encourage the government to explore a more detailed review of funding to ensure that we are fit to meet the needs of our community not just now but in the years ahead.
Dorothy House remains indebted to our local champions across our community who regularly support our work to ensure we can continue to provide outstanding care everyday across our 700sq miles.