Coronavirus: Hospices warn they could close as virus hits fundraising

A woman lying in bed holding the hands of a carerImage source, Marie Curie
Image caption,
Charities are warning hospices could close if funding is not found

Hospices could close as they "cannot wait any longer" for emergency funding after the coronavirus lockdown hit fundraising, charities have said.

Sue Ryder said it is facing a £12m gap in funds over the next three months while Marie Curie said it would need £30m to keep services running over the same period.

Bosses say they are helping the NHS by freeing up beds for Covid-19 patients.

Hospice UK estimates the sector has already lost more than £70m in revenue.

With charity shops closed and fundraising events such as the London Marathon as well as individual events run by charities being postponed, the charities that run end of life facilities said services may have to be closed unless the public or government, stepped in.

Heidi Travis, Sue Ryder chief executive, said hospices "cannot wait any longer" and were "a critical frontline support service in the fight against coronavirus".

She 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."

Marie Curie runs nine hospices across the UK as well as having more than 2,000 nurses visiting patients and is working with the NHS to see if its staff can be of use at the Nightingale Hospitals.

Meredith Niles, executive director of fundraising and engagement at Marie Curie, said: "It takes £2.5m just to keep the lights on and do what we normally do, let alone when we are doing extra things.

"We have a sustainable fundraising model but almost all of that relies on the assumption that people can leave their houses."

A spokesman for Hospice UK said there had been "productive" conversations with the government but no details on funding had been given.

Supplies of protective equipment remain a problem, he said.