Government provides further £16.9m emergency support for Scotland’s hospices

The Scottish Government has pledged almost £17 million of additional cash for hospices, which have been hit by a drop in income as a result of Covid-19.

Lockdown has forced hospices to close charity shops for part of the last year, with other fundraising events also unable to go ahead because of the restrictions.

Now the Scottish Government has announced £16.9 million of financial support for the sector.

It comes on top of £10.1 million announced for hospices in June 2020, after the first lockdown.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said the Scottish Government recognised the “vital support provided by hospices at this challenging time”.

She added: “We have already provided hospices with over £10 million to meet their requests for financial assistance – based on need associated with their loss of income due to lockdown restrictions.

“The Scottish Government is committed to supporting hospices and we have been clear that we will pass on the hospice consequential funding in full to the sector.”

Rhona Baillie (pictured), chair of the Scottish Hospices Leadership Group, welcomed the announcement, saying: “Hospices across Scotland have faced unprecedented challenges since the pandemic began. But they have absolutely risen to the challenge of continuing to provide vital care to people at the end of their lives in truly exceptional circumstances.

“Each year, hospices support more than 22,400 people through delivering care to people in their own homes, as well as inpatient, outpatient and day services.”

She added: “Hospices have demonstrated significant innovations over the past year to continue fundraising in virtual ways. However, the external landscape continues to have a major impact on hospices’ ability to raise funds.

“With a significant deficit expected in fundraising income in the coming year, the confirmation of this emergency funding provides a level of reassurance for forward planning of care services. ”

Richard Meade, head of policy and public affairs for Marie Curie in Scotland, said organisations such as themselves have faced “considerable financial pressure during the Covid pandemic, which has hit our fundraised income hard”.

He added: “The next few years look even more precarious and demand for palliative care services will continue to rise.

“Marie Curie needs to raise £250,000 per week to support our frontline services in Scotland. We are very grateful that the Scottish Government will provide additional financial support for the sector this coming year so that we can carry on supporting thousands of terminally ill people, their families and carers right across Scotland.”

Rami Okasha, chief executive of Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS), said: “This is fantastic news. Coupled with the amazing generosity of the Scottish public, this will allow us to deliver even more care for families facing the death of their child.

“The pandemic is incredibly tough for families of children with life-shortening conditions. Many are worried, isolated and on their own. CHAS is there for every dying child, and the need for our services is even greater than ever. This emergency funding will help us be a lifeline for families going through the hardest of times.”

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