A doctor holding the hands of an elderly person and offering support

Additional funding for hospices is welcome – but what next?

Published: 16/05/24 | Categories: Information & support, Author: Tomos Evans

Following the news of an additional £4 million in Welsh Government funding for the hospice sector, Tomos Evans, Marie Curie Policy and Public Affairs Manager, explains the impact this will have on hospices across Wales.


After many months of discussion, in April the charitable hospice sector got the good news that it would receive an additional £4m in Welsh Government funding to continue its vital work across the country. Now we need to talk about how this will affect hospices across Wales, and what else needs to happen to ensure sustainable end of life care for all.

While this funding will ensure people across Wales continue to receive palliative and end of life care from the network of hospices on offer, it mustn’t be forgotten that the sector continually relies on fundraising and charitable donations – a fact that will not go away with this news.

The cost of living crisis has made fundraising increasingly difficult, and harder for hospices to retain and recruit staff, with some even having to consider whether they can continue to maintain services.

The £4m, shared by Wales’ 12 commissioned hospices, will help them maintain services, meet staffing costs and improve the quality of end of life care provided to individuals and those close to them.


About 90% of people who die in Wales are estimated to need palliative care, and this will only increase as people live longer with multiple conditions.

As the UK’s leading end of life charity, Marie Curie cared for almost 3,000 people in Wales over the past year. With that figure set to grow we need a sustainable funding model for palliative and end of life care, one that doesn’t rely on fun runs and bake sales.

One of Marie Curie’s volunteers, Fiona, whose mum was cared for at our Cardiff and the Vale hospice, advocates for the vital care hospices provide to people at such a vulnerable time – whether they are an inpatient for symptom control or at end of life.

Fiona’s mum had stomach cancer and was in hospital prior to being given a bed at the hospice.

Fiona explained:

‘She was only there five days, but the care was phenomenal. It was the first time I’d been there. It was pitch black and chucking it down with rain, but the way I was looked after as soon as I arrived at reception, in a bit of a state, and the loveliness of the team there, made it easier.

‘They made me aware I could stay all night if I wanted to, which I inevitably did for two nights before mum suddenly passed away on 23 December.

‘Nothing was too much trouble. I didn’t expect it to be such a loving place. The first day mum was in there and she was still able to eat something, all she wanted was ice cream, and the fuss and the love that they went to make sure she got her ice cream, it was just lovely. The nurses and the doctors were just so caring.’

Our services are only part-funded by the NHS, meaning that we rely on our supporters and the public to fundraise and donate to us. Only through the generosity of others are we able to run services like the Marie Curie Hospice, Cardiff and the Vale in Penarth, our Hospice Care at Home services and our Information and Support service.


Currently, there isn’t a consistent funding formula applied across Wales. We would like to see a level playing field between health boards on how we deliver services, in a bid to improve access to end of life care.

With more people requiring palliative and end of life care in the future, it’s critical we continue to explore what is needed to establish a genuinely sustainable funding model to ensure that people receive the best possible palliative and end of life care. We look forward to continuing to work with the National Programme Board for Palliative and End of Life Care on this.

This Welsh Government funding is welcomed, but it is critical we continue to explore what is needed to establish a genuinely sustainable funding model to ensure that people like Fiona and her mum receive the best possible palliative and end of life care.


If you’re in need of support, we’re here to help. Call our Support Line on 0800 090 2309 to speak to a trained member of the team who can talk about terminal illness and everything linked to it, including help with finances. They are also trained to talk about bereavement. Or visit our website, www.mariecurie.org.uk/support.


For any further information on voluntary sector health and care services, email healthandcare@wcva.cymru.