‘Thank you for standing beside us’: St Catherine’s Hospice pledges ‘not to give up’ amid tough challenges

St Catherine’s Hospice has pledged ‘we will not give up’ despite facing tough challenges from the impact of coronavirus.

Thursday, 15th April 2021, 10:53 am

Chief executive, Giles Tomsett said he is ‘so proud’ of how his colleagues at the charity have responded to the changes over the past year.

In a statement, he added: “Caring for local people – your family, friends and neighbours, isn’t just a job for us, it’s ingrained. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve remained committed to helping people in your community who are facing the very worst of times while supporting the wider NHS.

“I want to sincerely thank everyone who has supported us. Your amazing support has kept us going through some of the toughest days in our nearly 40 year history, but sadly, the impact of Covid-19 continues across our charity.”

Chief executive of St Catherine's Hospice, Giles Tomsett. Photo: Toby Philips www.tobyphillipsphotography.co.uk
Chief executive of St Catherine's Hospice, Giles Tomsett. Photo: Toby Philips www.tobyphillipsphotography.co.uk

The hospice’s fundraising income has been ‘significantly affected’ by the pandemic forcing it to make ‘tough changes’ to cut costs, Giles said.

Staff were furloughed and the hospice received grants from the Government to support its work but Giles said he expects the impact on fundraising to continue ‘for the next few years’.

He added: “Even with those changes and savings, we are now only operating 12 beds at our hospice in Malthouse Road.

“Although we have room for up to 18 beds, running 12 beds allows us to offer people the safest possible care, and to continue our robust infection control measures as our 12 beds are in single rooms, not multi bedded bays.

St Catherine's Hospice. Photo: Toby Philips www.tobyphillipsphotography.co.uk

“It also helps us to save money at a time when our income has been severely affected. Once our operating finances are more buoyant, we can scale back up as we move into our new hospice home at Pease Pottage.

“Our plan at Pease Pottage is for all patients to be in single rooms.”

The hospice will still offer expert care and support to everyone in need, despite offering fewer beds, Giles said.

He added: “Most people we care for want to die at home, in the comfort and familiarity of their own surroundings, so we will also be refocusing our community facing teams to provide as much hospice support at home as we can, and to align ourselves to better support the work that our local healthcare systems and local care homes are doing to care for people with frailty.

“The people we help are everything to us, and their needs are at the heart of every decision we make.

“I want to reassure you that as we work through these changes, we will continue to deliver the best possible end of life care and support to our community. We’ve done this throughout the pandemic because local people deserve nothing less.”

Terry O’Leary, chair of trustees at St Catherine’s, said he has personal experience of the ‘wonderful care’ which the hospice provides.

He added: “We must make changes now to ensure that we can build back towards a better future.

“Along with the board of trustees I am confident that a new hospice will allow more families like mine to receive help when it’s needed most.”

Giles said the hospice’s ambition to help more people facing death and bereavement hasn’t changed and the charity still intends to build a new hospice at Pease Pottage with ‘world class facilities’. It will provide 24 beds in private ensuite rooms for the local community with the charity planning to scale up the number of beds at the new hospice gradually after it moves.

He added: As we face the hurdles ahead, we need your support more than ever. We need you to keep the fires burning, and to help us keep bringing money in.

“Together, we can create a future where no one in our community faces death and loss frightened or alone. And we can emerge stronger from this pandemic, ready to deliver more care from a new, bigger hospice at Pease Pottage. Thank you for standing beside us.”

To donate to St Catherine’s Hospice visit www.stch.org.uk/ourhospice