Communications News: Sue Ryder goes public with core cost request

Sue Ryder Care is launching its first public lobbying campaign today.

It calls for an increase in government funding for charities that provide care services.

We Care, Who Pays? will address the impact of shortfalls in statutory funding on palliative and neurological healthcare provided by the charity and other voluntary sector service providers.

The charity said it had in effect subsidised the state by more than £50m over the past four years. But current levels of Government funding for core costs meant it had been forced to plug a £7m shortfall this year with its reserves and voluntary income.

"We are asking the Department of Health to look closely at the true cost of care that we and other similar organisations have provided to enable us all to achieve full cost recovery," said Iain Henderson, the charity's chief executive.

The charity will also email its supporters this week to encourage them to lobby their MPs for the changes with online postcards. It will also send its campaigning message to national and regional media, and generate responses from the public by placing postcards in its 430 shops in January.

The campaign follows widespread calls for full cost recovery from within and outside the charity sector. Henderson said this campaign showed how a major service-providing charity was facing difficulties in the current climate.

He fears the situation will worsen next year when the Government publishes its National Service Framework for Long Term Conditions in the spring.

The document is set to specify even higher levels of care. But the charity said it has received no indication that any extra funding will be provided to support it.

The campaign also calls for palliative care funds to be ring-fenced and distributed by regional cancer networks rather than Primary Care Trusts, which the charity contends don't have the same depth of knowledge as the networks.

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