The leaders of the 12 independent charitable Hospices in the North East and North Cumbria have issued a call for Government to respond to the impact of sharply rising energy costs on end of life care.
Hospices in the region are predicting £1m of additional energy costs at a time when they are already under pressure from salary inflation and the rising costs of running vehicles. Households, businesses and individuals are already so stretched. The fear that donations won’t be enough are causing real concern.
The 12 hospice charities set up a formal collaborative in 2017 to improve the provision of palliative and end of life care across the region. However, a now pressing aim of the collective is to identify whether they can achieve savings by joining together to wield greater purchasing power. Despite their efforts, they are finding that there are no deals to be had for rising energy costs in the current climate.
The hospices are therefore calling on the Government to step in and help to sustain these vital services.
Paul Marriott, Chief Executive of St Cuthbert’s Hospice and Chair of the Hospices North East Collaborative, said: “Our communities are extremely generous to the Hospices in their local area, helping us to raise the money we need every year to ensure our care is free to all who need it. But the people and companies that support us are also facing the same financial pressures. That’s why we need Government to step in.”
“Fundraising has always been vital and whilst we can’t praise enough the individuals who go the extra mile to take on challenges and hold events for us, we have found that this income has been falling. Simply because those running marathons and skydiving are finding it hard to ask for sponsorship as we all struggle with the rising costs. It’s certainly a bleak outlook for us all in the Hospice care sector.”
“We recognise that the current crisis is affecting individuals, commercial organisations, public sector bodies and charities alike. Society is judged by the way it treats its most vulnerable. And people at the end of life, are at their most vulnerable. They are, surely, a special case for additional support”.
Most people approaching the end of life choose to die at home. However, fears about the costs of staying warm and running vital medical equipment will see many of them either continuing to receive care at home but with the added stress of worrying about their energy bills or, alternatively, not having a choice about where they die.
At the same time, the costs of Hospice Care itself are set to increase significantly. Already, the 12 hospices must raise a total of more than £31m each year in order to keep their services free and available. The current spike in energy costs means that they will have to find an additional £1.m
The 12 hospices calling for support are:
• Alice House Hospice, Hartlepool
• Butterwick Hospice Care, Stockton-on-Tees and Bishop Auckland
• Eden Valley Hospice & Jigsaw Cumbria Children’s Hospice, Cumbria
• Hospice at Home Carlisle & North Lakeland
• Hospice at Home West Cumbria
• Hospice Care North Northumberland
• St Cuthbert’s Hospice, Durham
• St Oswald’s Hospice, Newcastle
• St Teresa’s Hospice, Darlington
• Teesside Hospice, Middlesbrough
• Tynedale Hospice at Home, Hexham
• Willow Burn Hospice, Derwentside