My second blog post about Coronavirus is prompted by a message I received from Dove House Hospice. While everyone is demanding a strict lock-down and that citizens be forced to stay indoors for a protracted length of time it seems that the valuable work down by charities has been totally ignored.
Dove House Hospice is a charity providing excellent care for people in the local community with life limiting illnesses. It depends on donations for its continued existence. Like many other charities it makes a considerable amount of money from its many charity shops. Due to the government’s policy of convincing everyone to stay home this income stream has slowed to a trickle. It might surprise you to know that charities were not included as recipients of the government’s £330 billion aid package to business that was recently announced.
That is an incredible oversight and one that the most people seem to be unaware of.
If Dove House and other hospices around the country were to close, then where would their patients have to go? Obviously, into the care of the NHS, but they are trying to minimise admissions so as to be better prepared for dealing with people who are suffering from the affects of Covid-19! Indeed, the NHS cannot and does not give the kind of care that hospices do, which is why they exist. Their continued existence would mean that NHS resources would not be diverted to deal with patients who require highly intensive care, the kind of care that specifically trained staff are already giving.
The Charity Retail Association have written to the Chancellor to request support for charity shops in particular. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations is also in dialogue with the government, as well as the Charity Finance Group. Since 2010 the voluntary sector saw government support fall and now it is seeing public support, as a consequence of the calls for people to stay home, drastically reduce also. The fact is that some charities, including Dove House Hospice, could be forced to cease functioning due to a lack of financial support. The patients at Dove House are counted as those vulnerable to the Coronavirus due their existing medical conditions. Allowing hospices throughout the country to close really does not seem like a viable option if the government is serious about its stated obligation to protect the vulnerable.