Bristol hospice to re-open patient beds closed by pandemic

By Heather Pickstock

Bristol’s only adult hospice is to re-open all beds at its inpatient unit - after having to scale back operations due to the coronavirus pandemic.

St Peter’s Hospice was forced to reduce the number of beds in its inpatient unit at Brentry from 15 to 12 last autumn after the impact of the lockdown left a £2 million black hole in its finances.

The day hospice service was also suspended due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic with many of its support services moving online.

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The When it Matters Most (WIMM) campaign - backed by Bristol Live - was launched in a bid to plug the financial gap.

The campaign, launched last October, has raised a staggering £500,000.

Bosses at the charity say, thanks to the campaign and the generosity of people across Bristol, it is now in a position to work towards re-opening beds in the inpatient unit to pre-pandemic levels.

St Peter’s Hospice chief executive Frank Noble said: “The sun is now shining over the horizon.

“We ended the financial year in a better position than we imagined.

“This was down to the When It Matters Most appeal and the incredible generosity and support of the people of Bristol who once again came to our aid and the cost saving measures we had to put in place.

“We are now in a position to work towards re-opening the beds at the inpatient unit.

“This will take place over the coming months as we now need to recruit clinical staff, healthcare assistants and cleaners.”

Mr Noble said the hospice would also be revisiting its day hospice services.

He said: “We are working with the wider healthcare system to see what services they are providing in different localities.

“It may be that we end up delivering day services in the local community and it is something we are currently working through.”

Mr Noble said the last 18 months for the hospice had been some of the most challenging the charity has ever faced.

“It has been a horrendous year for the hospice,” said Mr Noble.

“Despite having 55 clinical staff off over the summer we still managed to look after 3,000 people in the last 12 months and maintain services.

“The WIMM campaign has been integral in keep us going.

"Not just financially but emotionally due to amazing level of support we received from the local community.

“That support kept us going through the toughest of times.”

Mr Noble said the hospice was forecasting a good financial position this year.

“We are in balance and are covering all our costs,” he said.

“We have seen our fundraising events return and people continue to support us by making donations and shopping at our shops.

“The work of St Peter’s Hospice is only achievable because of the generosity of the people of Bristol and beyond.”

To find out more about the hospice, how you can get involved and future fundraising events visit www.stpetershospice.org.

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