St Elizabeth Hospice today said it was working hard to meet the growing demand for hospice care in East Suffolk and South Norfolk.
St Elizabeth Hospice was responding to new figures which said almost seven in ten people in the East of England think demand for hospice care will “rocket” in the coming decades because of the UK’s rapidly ageing population and many are worried about its future availability.
The regional findings were released as part of a national survey commissioned by the charity Help the Hospices.
Almost two thirds of those surveyed (65 per cent) in the East of England say they are concerned there won’t be enough hospice care available in the future to support them or their loved ones if they need it, and almost three quarters of people (74 per cent) in the East of England believe hospice care has a much bigger role to play in the future as Britain’s population ages.
The findings come just a week after senior managers and trustees at St Elizabeth Hospice, which provides services in East Suffolk and South Norfolk, met Help the Hospice’s national clinical lead Heather Richardson to discuss the challenges that lay ahead.
Jane Petit, Chief Executive of St Elizabeth Hospice, said:
“We know people in East Suffolk and South Norfolk are living longer with more diseases. We are already caring for people with a wider range of progressive illnesses; in fact some 40 per cent of our patients now have a diagnosis other than cancer. We also know we have a higher proportion of older people in this area.
“We are committed to working in partnership with other healthcare providers and growing our existing services in East Suffolk and creating new services in Waveney and Great Yarmouth. However we do understand there is much more work to be done in the coming years.”
St Elizabeth Hospice is also working hard to care for younger patients, aged 14 upwards, making the transition from children’s hospice services.
Mrs Petit added: “As a charity it costs us £9.1 million a year to provide our services free of charge. To grow Hospice care for local people now and in the future we rely on the support of local people who donate, fundraise, leave a gift in their Will or support our shops. Every action counts to help us meet the growing demand for St Elizabeth Hospice care.”
The Hospice’s services include day units in Beccles, Gorleston, including at the Louise Hamilton Centre, and in Ditchingham. The number of inpatient beds provided by St Elizabeth Hospice has increased in recent years from 18 to 21.
The survey, conducted by leading pollster Populus, also showed the public views hospices very positively. More than two thirds of people (70 per cent) in the East Of England regard them as “a place that offers compassionate care”.
The survey’s findings are published as a new report by the Commission into the Future of Hospice Care highlights the challenges facing hospices over the next 10-15 years.
The Commission is calling on hospices to adapt and diversify so they are equipped to face the opportunities and challenges they face in the future. It proposes a range of actions hospices need to take over the next two to three years to prepare for these.