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UK hospices warn of bed closures and staff cuts as energy bills soar

Hospice charities providing end-of-life services in partnership with the NHS have warned they will have to shut beds and sack staff because of the catastrophic impact of rising energy bills on their day-to-day running costs.

The UK’s network of independent, mainly voluntary-run palliative care providers said hospices were experiencing a perfect storm of soaring costs and rising demand just as revenues from traditional public fundraising methods are collapsing.

They have also warned that many patients who receive palliative care at home are struggling to maintain optimal care standards because they can’t afford to run central heating and the electrical medical equipment used in their everyday clinical care.

Hospices, which typically rely on charitable donations for 70%-80% of their running costs, and which are intensive users of gas and electricity, have reported facing energy bill rises of up to 350%.

Rachel McMillan, the chief executive of one of the UK’s biggest hospices, St Ann’s, in Greater Manchester, said: “We are at the point where we will have to take some very difficult decisions in terms of our business model and our service provision. Closing beds would be a last resort, but we are seriously going to have to think about this.

“The government needs to sit up and listen to hospices; we are an essential part of the care delivery system. We are not a luxury.”

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Source: 22 December 2022


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