Ashgate Hospicecare have described the second national lockdown as a “further blow”, as they prepare to close their 14 shops and three coffee shops for a second time from Thursday 5th November.
The charity, which provides specialist end of life care to patients with complex palliative care needs across North Derbyshire, was already reporting £2.4 million lost revenue due to the Coronavirus pandemic. With a second national lockdown now confirmed, the charity is expecting an additional £400,000 in lost sales due to longer term uncertainty for shoppers.
Just last week, Ashgate Hospicecare launched an urgent Winter Crisis Appeal, encouraging their local community to help them care for patients through their most difficult winter yet. This followed an earlier announcement that the charity would be seeking voluntary redundancies, which it has now made and were unable to rule out compulsory redundancies if sufficient savings were not met.
Barbara-Anne Walker, Chief Executive of Ashgate Hospicecare, said: “Ensuring the delivery of our compassionate end of life care throughout this pandemic has been the utmost priority for us all at Ashgate Hospicecare.
“But with our shops set to close and with our fundraising scaled back or cancelled, we are facing an uphill battle to survive. Even before the crisis hit, we were facing long-term funding challenges, as the amount Ashgate receives from local health budgets has not increased since 2014, a decline in real terms.
“In addition, our teams have been working around the clock to meet the growing and more complex needs of our community, yet less than a third of our total costs are covered by local health budgets.
“That means, we still have to raise 72% of the funds we need to provide end of life care for desperately ill patients across North Derbyshire every year.
“Ashgate is hoping to secure more funding from NHS Derby and Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for the financial year starting April 2021. The CCG have promised to confirm by the end of November whether they can commit to the extra funding Ashgate so desperately needs to secure our services for the next financial year.
“Without it, the hospice will be forced to make compulsory redundancies early in the New Year in addition to the voluntary redundancies it has already had to make.”
As part of the Winter Crisis Appeal, Ashgate Hospicecare have produced an emotional video that puts their supporters and their community at the heart of the campaign.
Featured in the video are Lynn and Andy from Brimington in Chesterfield, who experienced first-hand the crucial support provided by Ashgate Hospicecare.
‘End of life care services must be protected’
Barbara-Anne continues: “The CCG have said they may be able to provide Ashgate Hospicecare with a limited amount of funds for the current year only, but this does not address the long-term funding issues, nor does it tackle the underlying imbalance between our costs of patient care and statutory funding.
“Without question, end of life care must be protected to ensure that our services are there for those who need them. If Ashgate Hospicecare is not provided with the adequate funding it so urgently needs to care for patients, their families and loved ones, then the impact on our local community will be catastrophic.”
To support Ashgate Hospicecare’s Winter Crisis Appeal, go to www.ashgatehospicecare.org.uk/winter-crisis-appeal/ or phone 01246 567250.
Watch the Winter Crisis Appeal video
Lynn and Andy’s story
Lynn and Andy from Brimington in Chesterfield experienced first-hand the crucial support provided by Ashgate Hospicecare.
Lynn’s mum and dad were cared for at home by Ashgate’s Palliative Care Specialist Nurses and Andy’s mum was cared for in the Inpatient Unit. Lynn’s mum was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and shortly after Andy’s mum was diagnosed with the same condition.
“Mum didn’t want to go into a nursing home or go to hospital. She wanted to stay at home, and I said I would do whatever I could to make that happen,” said Lynn. “In fact, the support we had from Ashgate was just phenomenal.
“There’s a different philosophy towards caring at the Hospice and it shows in all the staff. The Hospice couldn’t possibly have done more for us.
“The Hospice organised all of mum’s equipment – they couldn’t have done more for us. We spoke to an Occupational Therapist from the Hospice and within 24 hours they came out and they assessed what we needed.
“Mum was only with us for eight weeks from her diagnosis to when she died. She visited the Hospice on a couple of occasions to see a consultant. The moment we walked through the door we were always greeted warmly. Everybody’s attitude was great.
“As far as I am concerned, the Hospice couldn’t possibly have done more for our family. They helped to make our lives as easy as possible in those final weeks.
“We realise now that if people didn’t support the Hospice through donations, my mum wouldn’t have been able to stay at home where she wanted to be. It’s thanks to everyone who has donated in the past that she was so well looked after.
“And we know that what we donate now will enable the Hospice to carry on delivering this care for future generations. We were so fortunate to have such amazing care and I couldn’t criticise a single thing about Ashgate.
“There was nothing the Hospice could have done better to support us in caring for mum.”