One of the UK’s largest hospice charities has warned that it is on “the brink of closure” as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
Sue Ryder, which provides end-of-life care for 5,000 people each year, says that it faces a £12m financial black hole over the next three months.
It has launched an emergency appeal for public donations and called for urgent funds from the government.
Without that support, the charity warns that it may be forced to close its hospices and end its services helping terminally ill people in their own homes.
'The country will lose its hospices at a time when they are needed most'
The charity says that its investment fund has lost £2m since the crisis began, as a result of falling stock market values. This is in addition to losing £440,000 in monthly retail profits, and a further £200,000 in potential fundraising after the cancellation of the London Marathon.
If its services close, Sue Ryder warns that patients in its care will have to turn to the NHS for help instead.
Heidi Travis, chief executive of Sue Ryder, said: “We have been calling on the government to support us but no funding has materialised. 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 frontline 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 they can afford to help us to help those who need it most.”
Marie Curie TV ad: 'On hold'
A second hospice charity, Marie Curie, has released a new advert to highlights its work during the crisis.
Saatchi & Saatchi created the 30-second video free of charge.
On Hold, shows a succession of venues which have fallen silent as the UK enters lockdown, from beaches and pubs to festival sites. It then highlights the end-of-life care Marie Curie provides for terminally people patients, which continues while so many other activities have been paused.
The advert comes after Marie Curie launched its own emergency appeal last month. The charity said that its ability to fundraise had been “seriously compromised” by the onset of the coronavirus, at a time when it needs £2.5m each week to continue its frontline services with patients.
Esther Jackson, marketing and communications director at Marie Curie, said: “At this time of national emergency, Marie Curie Nurses and frontline staff are needed more than ever as the NHS is put under ever greater strain.
“Sadly, some people’s lives will be shortened by coronavirus, so the need for end of life care will be greater. Marie Curie can meet this need, and in doing so will help free up intensive care beds needed for coronavirus patients.
"Consequently, we hope the On Hold campaign will raise further awareness of the vital role our frontline staff provide for people at the end of their life.”