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Birmingham Hospice launches funding crisis appeal

31 May 2024

Birmingham Hospice has launched a Crisis Appeal to raise the money it urgently needs to continue funding its expert, specialist, and free services.

The charity provides palliative and end of life care free of charge to local communities, whether that’s in patients’ own homes, in the community or at its Selly Park or Erdington sites.

This year, the hospice needs to raise around £6.5 million through fundraising activity to continue providing this care; this is a £1 million increase on last year.

Due to insufficient funding from the government, hospices across the UK are facing an estimated £77 million collective deficit this year, with rising costs and fewer donations exacerbating the problem.

The Birmingham Hospice Crisis Appeal hopes to ensure hospice services continue for local people now, and in the future. According to figures from Hospice UK, three in four citizens approach end of life and may need to access hospice care.

The hospice has a higher staff to patient ratio, meaning teams can provide patients with expert, round-the-clock and personalised care they need.

Alex Cope, nurse consultant at Birmingham Hospice explained how her teams are seeing more complex medical cases than ever before. These cases require more medical expertise, an intensive drug provision and 1-1 support, which costs the charity thousands each week.

She said: “We often have patients in our Inpatient Units who have complicated symptoms, needing complex care.

“We’ve seen a steep rise in young patients across all areas of the hospice and they can often appear quite well until they suddenly deteriorate, and everything changes for them.

“In palliative care, it’s about accepting that people are on a journey from which we cannot change the destination.

“However, it’s an honour and privilege to share that journey, supporting them and their families with all aspects of their lives.

“Sadly, no one knows when they, or their loved one, could be given a terminal diagnosis. Three in four of us approaching the end of life may need to access hospice care – we want to be there when that time comes.

“Without urgent action, we will be forced to make cuts to our services.”

A Sutton Coldfield-based family has offered their support to the campaign after having recently used the hospice’s services.

Ella and Rosie Finnegan, 28 and 26, have spoken about the immense impact the hospice had on their family after their mum, Sybille, was cared for by the hospice and stayed in the Inpatient Unit.

Diagnosed with lung cancer in 2011, Sybille received chemotherapy and radiotherapy and was monitored by doctors over the following years when she received the all-clear. However, her condition suddenly deteriorated in 2019, causing her lung to collapse.

After months of tests and even a drug trial, doctors were soon mentioning end of life care. Ella said it was “heartbreaking”.

She said: “The day our mum died, the hospice called us and took the time to explain how her breathing had changed. She had been very unwell the same week, and so they thought Mum might pass away soon. We were so thankful to have the warning.

“She died aged 62 on July 8, 2021. We had the doors open into the garden and we were listening to music and singing. Having the private space to pass peacefully meant the world.

“To know that the hospice is struggling to fund its services when they gave so much to us as a family is absolutely devastating. A terminal diagnosis can be given to anyone, at any time, just like Mum.”

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