Marie Curie’s spending up by more than £20m after NHS funding falls

The end-of-life charity recorded a deficit of £8.6m as it increased its spending on its hospices by £4m to account for NHS shortfalls

(Photograph: Laura James/Pexels)

Total spending at Marie Curie grew by more than £20m due to increased investment in charitable activities after NHS funding was reduced, its latest accounts reveal.

The charity’s accounts, covering the year to 31 March, show expenditure was £175.9m, up 12 per cent on the previous year, due to higher investment in fundraising, nursing and hospices.

The charity’s income totalled £167.3m, 1 per cent higher than the previous year.

Marie Curie runs nine hospices across the UK that are partly funded by the NHS, which covers 36 per cent of the costs.

The accounts show that in the previous year the NHS covered 40 per cent of the operating costs.

The cut in NHS funding necessitated an increased investment of more than £4m in the hospices by the charity, Marie Curie said. 

Overall investment in the hospices totalled £54.7m, a nine per cent increase on the previous year.

The charity invested £58.7m in nursing services this year, a 17 per cent increase on the previous year after the NHS cut its funding from covering 57 per cent of staff costs to 51 per cent.

The accounts say: “The reduction in the level of funding from the NHS reflects the fact that we have not been able to recover from the NHS or the government the increased cost of delivering our services across the UK, which arose from the need to significantly increase pay for our nurses and clinical staff to support recruitment and retention and the continuation of our services.”

They add that this issue “underpins the vital need” to grow future fundraising income.

A statement signed by Matthew Reed, the charity’s chief executive, and Vindi Banga, the charity’s chair, says: “Although most Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted and we’ve returned to near-normal activity in our daily lives, Covid-19 continues to create operational and strategic challenges in the healthcare sector. 

“There is a shortage of healthcare workers, exacerbated by the pandemic. And there are also more younger people entering end-of-life care, signalling a general deterioration in the health of the population. 

“Meanwhile, the cost-of-living crisis has amplified the harsh reality that more people at the end of life are in deeper poverty than ever before, while facing higher energy bills due to medical equipment needs and extra time at home because of illness.” 

The charity employed 3,843 people on average over the year, an increase of more than 100 on the year before.

The highest-paid employee earned between £190,000 and £199,999 this year, £30,000 more than the year before.

The charity said last month that it planned to increase its fundraised income by 30 per cent to help it more than double the number of people it supports over the next five years.

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