Coronavirus: Isle of Wight hospice faces cost pressures

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image copyrightMountbatten Hospice
image captionThe hospice said it was increasing home visits to free up resources in the NHS

Caring for terminally ill patients at home during the coronavirus pandemic, combined with a fall in fundraising, could threaten future services, the Isle of Wight's hospice has warned.

Mountbatten Hospice said it was nevertheless extending its services to help ease the pressure on the NHS.

It is also training volunteers in end-of-life care and has set up a helpline for the island's frontline NHS staff.

Chief executive Nigel Hartley said it faced a "huge loss of income".

The hospice said it had increased visits to patients' homes, working under new safety measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Charity shops closed

It is also training volunteers from the NHS and members of the public in end-of-life care skills as the island's main hospital gears up to deal with Covid-19 patients.

Parts of St Mary's Hospital in Newport are being converted to help provide an extra 200 beds.

The charity has appealed for public donations of money and for more personal protection equipment (PPE) for staff.

Mr Hartley said the hospice would "help our island through this virus" but said it faced a loss of more than £1m following the cancellation of fundraising events such as the the annual Walk the Wight event and the closure of its charity shops.

"It is clear as the number of cases rise, and pressure on the system builds, all of us will need to be prepared to care for our loved ones at home.

"It is an increasing reality we will have to scale back services in the future, unless the island community can donate what they can now to make the difference in the weeks and months ahead," he said.

Hospice UK has said it is in talks with the government over funding issues faced by hospices across the country.

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