St Peter’s Hospice is the only adult hospice in Bristol. We provide end of life care; in our in-patient unit as well as in the community. We have seen demand increase tenfold at a time when staffing availability has fallen 25% due to illness or self-isolation. Hospices prevent admissions to hospital, take admissions from hospitals and provide care in the community. For hospices to be able to continue to do that, and indeed increase activity, then our finances through this time need to be 100% assured. This would ensure that our efforts and energies are put into supporting the NHS rather than having the distraction of trying to save costs so as to ensure we continue to be there for our patients in the future.
Before coronavirus we were 20% funded by the NHS with the rest coming from shop income, fundraising events and legacies. Our shops are now shut, our events postponed or cancelled and legacy income, an already volatile source of income, will suffer even more as the value of assets has fallen drastically. We have seen a near total collapse in non NHS income.
We are in discussions with the NHS about further support that they can provide and we are now modelling the impact of that and government schemes such as the job retention scheme, rates relief, grants to retailers etc. Whilst this is all very helpful indeed, and we thank the government and the NHS for that support, there remains a lot of uncertainty for us.
As a hospice we are in a the very unique position of being part of the solution to this issue whilst not having our finances assured. Once this first wave passes we will not generate income from non NHS sources in the way that we did in the past. We are anticipating that could result in significant losses for the charity. It already has. This comes at a time where our budgets were already in operating deficit and income in the weeks up to this point has fallen significantly below budget. Given that the situation is changing daily we cannot easily model how much longer our reserves will support us but it is fair to say that our financial resilience is being tested to the limit.
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