Hospices under threat during cost of living crisis

Hospices under threat across the UK are facing up to £100m of additional costs this year due to rising inflation and the cost of matching NHS pay, a charity told the BBC.

At one provider, Steve Smith, CEO of Havens Hospices in Essex said it expects its energy bills alone to soar by 85% in the next 12 months, from £40,500 to around £75,000.

On top of that, matching NHS rates of pay to recruit and retain staff has pushed up its wage bill up by 37% – an additional £2.8m a year.

The charity which runs two sites in Southend and Benfleet has simultaneously seen food costs rise, as well as fuel for the vehicles its community teams use.

Havens is not the only hospice facing financial uncertainty Hospice UK estimates this works out as an extra £500,000 a year, for an average hospice.

Like many other hospices about 80% of its income comes from donations.

Mr Smith, who is also chief executive of Teesside Hospice in Middlesbrough and St Teresa’s Hospice in Darlington, has warned any changes may come too late for some as concern over falling donations grows.

He said: “The assumption that local communities can fund hospices through jumble sales, enabling them to deliver high quality, specialist care is just impossible no matter how generous communities are.”