The Sue Ryder charity is on the brink of closure and the country “will lose its hospices” without emergency funding, it has said.
Without funds, the palliative care charity said it will be forced to close its hospices and stop caring for people in their own homes within months.
It anticipates a £12 million funding gap over the next three months, with fundraisers cancelled and its shops closed during the coronavirus lockdown measures.
The charity had originally asked the Government for support and now, out of “desperation”, is turning to the public for help with an emergency appeal.
Heidi Travis, Sue Ryder chief executive, said: “We have been calling on the Government to support us but no funding has materialised.
“The country will lose its hospices at a time when they are needed most.
“This is a plea and no less, we cannot wait any longer.
“Our doctors and nurses are working night and day to provide end-of-life care to more people now and in the coming weeks, than ever before.
“We are a critical frontline support service in the fight against coronavirus yet we are on the brink of closure.
“We are all facing something we have never faced before and we are asking the public to give whatever you can afford to help us to help those who need it most.”
Today we launch our Emergency Appeal. Without fundraising and with our shops closed we face a £4m gap in funding in April. Without support, we won’t be able to continue providing care and supporting the NHS – so every donation makes a huge difference. https://t.co/acp8iTxKAn pic.twitter.com/bgzyjcZePr
— Sue Ryder (@Sue_Ryder) April 3, 2020
Before the Covid-19 outbreak, statutory funding covered a third of the charity’s end-of-life care costs.
The rest came from fundraising and income from its 450 charity shops.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “Palliative and end-of-life care services, including hospices, play a hugely important role in providing care for thousands at the most difficult time, and last year the Prime Minister announced a £25 million cash injection to protect the crucial service they provide.
“We are absolutely committed to keeping hospices open during this time and are working closely with the NHS, Together for Short Lives and Hospice UK on an appropriate national response.
“We will be setting out our hospice support package shortly.”