Birmingham Hospice has received overwhelming support for its petition demanding better government funding for end of life care following a high-profile event at New Street station.
From Thursday 8 to Friday 9 February, the hospice took over the station’s concourse with a walk-through tunnel to educate commuters about the options available when faced with a terminal diagnosis, alongside explaining the reality of hospice funding.
Strategically located in the busiest non-London train station, with over 140,000 people passing through each day more than 3,600 people have now signed the petition demanding fairer funding for end of life care. Their website saw an increase in visitors of 767% during the installation period.
On average, Birmingham Hospice is caring for around 1,000 local people who are living with a terminal illness at any one time. Care is provided at its two Inpatient Units in Selly Park and Erdington, in the community, or in patients’ own homes. Services include Living Well Centres, Community Palliative Care, Hospice at Home, Therapies and Wellbeing.
Despite being a vital specialist healthcare service, hospice care isn’t fully funded by the NHS and the sector is experiencing a funding crisis with an estimated shortfall of £186 million during the current financial year, according to Hospice UK.
With an exponential increase in running costs, combined with a shortfall in funding for staff pay awards and fundraising challenges due to the ongoing cost of living crisis, hospices are being forced to cut vital services, despite the reality that 3 in 4 people approaching end of life may have to use their services.
Speaking on the impact of the event, Louise Allen, Head of Communications and Marketing at Birmingham Hospice said: “The overwhelming response from local residents, both in signatures for our petition and funds raised, sends a powerful message about the importance of funding to enable our community to approach the end of life with the autonomy and dignity they deserve.
“As a community, we are sending a clear message that the government needs to do more to ensure that hospices are properly funded, so we can continue to provide free expert palliative and end of life care to all local people who need it, while taking pressure of NHS services.”
Each year Birmingham Hospice needs to raise more than £16 million to fund its vital care services; 60% of this comes from the NHS, while the remaining 40% has to be raised through fundraising and voluntary donations.
To donate to Birmingham Hospice and enable families to treasure precious moments together at the end of life, www.birminghamhospice.org.uk/donate
To sign Birmingham Hospice’s petition demanding better government funding for hospice care, www.change.org/hospicefunding