Breast Cancer Now could make 60 people redundant as part of plans to deal with a projected loss of income.
The charity is predicting an almost 35% drop in income due to Covid-19, and it has therefore launched a staff consultation to look at changes to the way it operates.
The charity says its best estimate is that it will face a drop in income of around £16m over the next year.
Breast Cancer Now has around 300 staff, with a head office in London as well as offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff and Sheffield. The 60 redundancies equate to around 20% of staff.
Less able to achieve its vision
Breast Cancer Now currently funds a third of all breast cancer research in the UK. The charity says it is now less able to carry out the research needed to achieve its 2050 vision: that by 2050, everyone diagnosed with breast cancer will live and be supported to live well.
To mitigate the expected impact, the charity is currently looking at what cost savings it could make in the next financial year, as well as what reductions to its charitable and operational work may be needed.
It has cancelled its next two research grant funding rounds, which would have awarded funding in August and December 2020. This will likely see the charity spend at least £2m less on its research in 2020-21.
‘It is no longer enough just to describe this situation as unprecedented’
Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive at Breast Cancer Now, said: “It is no longer enough just to describe this situation as unprecedented. We have never seen a time where those affected by breast cancer and their families are in such need of reassurance, support, clear and trusted information, and hope for the future.
“But at a time where the need for our work has arguably never been greater, we and many other charities are facing our greatest threat to date”.
She added: “This is an extremely difficult time ― we greatly value every single one of our brilliant, committed staff and it is with great sadness that these steps need to be considered”.
Morgan said the charity will “not be alone” in the sector in needing to make significant changes to the way it works, and added “we need the government to act”.
Breast Cancer Now has seen a huge surge in enquiries about Covid-19 to its online Ask Our Nurses service, with a 60% increase in March 2020.
Since the outbreak began, the charity has received over 2,700 enquiries to its helpline and Ask Our Nurses service, while its patient information about Covid-19 has been viewed over 134,000 times.
A survey by the charity of over 580 people affected by breast cancer found that a significant number of secondary breast cancer patients were seeing their chemotherapy or targeted therapy changed or paused temporarily to boost their immune systems, leading to periods of weeks or potentially months without treatments.
The suspension of Breast Cancer Now’s face-to-face support services across the UK until at least the end of August, in line with guidance on social distancing and shielding, will see over 130 vital support events and courses be postponed in total. The charity estimates that over 2,000 people may miss out on the support they need during this time.
The charity is set to launch two new online support services later this month ― Moving Forward and Living with Secondary Breast Cancer.