It is no longer acceptable for end-of-life care to be “propped up” by fundraising from marathon running and cake sales, a charity has warned.
The Marie Curie charity is warning of a crisis in palliative care in the UK, as it braces for what it fears could be the worst winter for the sector.
More people will need palliative care in the coming months due to coronavirus and the backlog of diagnoses and treatment following the lockdown, the charity said.
The pandemic has exposed the fragility of the hospice and end-of-life sector, it said, and that it is no longer acceptable for it to be “propped up” by charity shops or fundraisers.
A report by the London School of Economics found the need for palliative care is fast increasing as the population ages, and estimated that around 300 people a day in the UK miss out on such care.
Marie Curie said this is set to rise without Government funding.
Chief executive Matthew Reed said end-of-life charities and hospices have been “seriously weakened” by the coronavirus lockdown, and he is concerned they will struggle to cope with the expected surge in demand.
He added: “We need to ensure everyone receives the best possible end-of-life experience, and that requires end-of-life care to be put on a new financial footing.
“We wouldn’t tolerate the availability of maternity care being conditional on the success of the Christmas fete. It’s time for end-of-life to have a new contract with government.”
Marie Curie’s medical director Dr Sarah Holmes said it was “inevitable” there would be an increase in the need for palliative care in the coming months.
Picture: A volunteer supports a palliative care patient. (KatarzynaBialasiewicz).