CEO blog: Why Prospect Hospice desperately needs more funding

April 2024


Will you ask your MP to speak up for hospice care?

Apart from birth, we are at our most vulnerable when we’re facing death. Personalised care, for both patients and their families, like that provided by Prospect Hospice, can make a world of difference.

I’ve been in post as Chief Executive for a year now. During this time, I’ve seen the impact the care of our dedicated staff and volunteers has on people with a life-limiting illness. This is why it’s so hard for me to say that Prospect Hospice is under threat and in urgent need of a lifeline.

This is no reflection of how hard our team is working to provide care for local people and their families. It’s down to the financial challenges we face, as people’s ability to give is affected by the cost-of-living crisis, and the NHS funding, falls far short of what’s needed.

While the demand for and cost of delivering our care increases rapidly, the funding we get from the government has remained flat for more than 10 years, meaning in real terms, that we get less year on year.

This situation is simply not sustainable. To keep providing our vital services, we are having to make difficult decisions.

We have reduced the number of beds in our inpatient unit to six, despite having room for 12. This is devastating for all of us who strive to offer end-of-life care to everyone in our community. This decision, as hard as it has been, isn’t enough, as we still go into the new financial year with a £1 million hole in our finances – out of the £8.5 million it costs to run the hospice each year.

Our hope is that changes like these are short-term measures. But to survive and grow our services to meet the increasing demand, we need funding we can rely on.

While our generous supporters continue to donate and fundraise in these difficult economic times, which we are hugely grateful for, they shouldn’t be solely responsible for protecting their local hospice services.

Since 2022, government-funded Integrated Care Boards have had a legal requirement to commission palliative and end-of-life care in their areas. However, a recent report by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Hospice and End of Life Care found that the funding hospices receive varies significantly across the country in a ‘postcode lottery’. You can read the full APPG report here.

We believe everyone should have access to personalised end-of-life care when they need it, regardless of where they live or their ability to pay.

Right now, across England, government funding for hospices does not reflect the cost of services, putting vital end-of-life care at risk.

We can’t afford to lose Prospect Hospice. The knock-on effect on already overstretched NHS services would be catastrophic. And the gap left by hospices like ours would rob people of their ability to have a good death, surrounded by their loved ones.

On Monday 15 April, MPs will be discussing the subject of hospice funding in Parliament at a backbench business debate. Please ask your MP to show up and speak up for local hospice care by clicking here.

It’s so important we act now, while there’s still time for the government to meet its legal obligation to properly fund hospice care in England and protect this important public service for years to come.

Thanks for your continued support.

Jeremy Lune

Chief Executive

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