Express & Star

'We won't be here in four years unless we get the right funding' warns hospice boss

The boss of a West Midland hospice warns the service could close within four years without stronger support from Government.

Acorns Hospice launched an appeal when funds fell short and the Walsall centre was saved from closure

Claire Towns warned that the future of the whole hospice sector was in doubt as charity incomes failed to keep pace with rising running costs.

Mrs Towns, chief executive of Mary Stevens Hospice in Stourbridge, issued the warning as MPs held a debate on hospice funding in the House of Commons.

Mrs Towns said government funding covered just 18 per cent of the hospice’s annual running costs of £3.4 million a year.

“If our income became static, and we didn’t have the support from our community, we won’t be here in another three-to-four years,” she said.

“We forecast a deficit budget every single year.”

The UK hospice sector is reporting an estimated collective deficit of £77 million for the 2023-24 financial year, according to Hospice UK’s quarterly financial survey.

Mrs Towns welcomed the parliamentary debate, saying it was the first time the matter had been properly debated in parliament.

Toby Porter, left, during his time at Acorns Hospice