Government announce Covid funding package for Northern Ireland Hospice

29 October 2020

Northern Ireland Hospice and Children's Hospice has seen a substantial increase in demand to their services. Today's announcement from Finance Minister Conor Murphy set out the latest funding allocations, which seen a multi-million support package for hospice care across Northern Ireland, including an allocated support package for Northern Ireland Hospice.

 Heather Weir, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Hospice and Children’s Hospice said:  

 “This funding has come at a crucial time for us, especially amidst a substantial increase in demand for our vital care services, and against a backdrop of ongoing discussions with government departments to ensure the Hospice services are funded fairly.”  

 “The generosity from our local community has helped the Hospice and the Children’s Hospice considerably since the start of the pandemic, however, this year we have experienced a steady decline in fundraising donations and witnessed a continued reduction in footfall through our Hospice shops. Our latest financial reforecast showed a gap of £6M from fundraising during this financial year.”

 “We are very relieved the Minister of Finance has announced this COVID funding package and the NI Executive have fully supported it. We have already had to make difficult decisions within the organisation undertaking a savings and efficiency process to prioritise essential expenditure. Whilst today’s significant funding of £4.062M does not alleviate our total financial pressure of £6M and the economic impact on charitable giving in the next financial year, it does allow us a short respite from the constant financial worry we have faced and means that we can continue to protect our core caring services.” 

 “Our staff and volunteers have been working tirelessly during this crisis and continue to provide excellent care for local people and families across Northern Ireland. It has been a very challenging and distressing time, both in terms of delivering end of life care under the current circumstances, and supporting babies, children and adults and their families, at what is a heart-breaking time for them. Hospice staff and volunteers remain at the frontline of care, and I’d like to thank them for their dedication and service to our community.” 

 “Northern Ireland Hospice remains deeply committed to providing specialist palliative care throughout this crisis and beyond. We have provided care here for over 40 years and we will continue to be here for babies, children and adults across Northern Ireland when they need us most."

 Heather Weir, Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Hospice is available for comment/interviews on request.

 For further information, please contact Shirley Oguz, Head of Corporate Communications, 07714394030, 

 Northern Ireland Hospice has seen a substantial increase in demand to their services. Since 1 April 2020, during the first six months of this financial year and pandemic:

  •  175 patients were admitted to the In Patient Unit at Northern Ireland Hospice, this is a 13% increase in admissions from the same time last year.
  • Hospice Specialist Community Services have received 1095 new referrals (increase of 10.7%) supporting 680 local people who sadly died in this period, which is a 23.4% increase from the same time last year.
  • NIH has played an active role in supporting the HSC to ensure anyone with specialist palliative and end of life care needs is supported to live well and die well.
  • Our clinical teams have flexed the community services, creating a rapid response service and 24 hour help which supports people to stay at home, avoid ED attendances and offer rapid access to our Hospice beds when needed.
  • £16m is required for Northern Ireland Hospice and Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice to deliver its services each year.
  • In 2019 approximately £4m of this was funded by Government with the remaining £12m generated through corporate support, shops, legacies and fundraising activities.
  • Northern Ireland Hospice has been delivering palliative care to local people across Northern Ireland for over 39 years.
  • Hospice’s care services both in the community and in our specialist in patient units, provide high quality, person-centred, holistic palliative care, support and care for infants, children and adults who are adjusting to life living with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions, up to their death and into family bereavement support.
  • Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice, as part of Northern Ireland Hospice, is the only facility of its kind in the province.