A message from our CEO, Ann Lee:
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic is a deeply worrying time for all of us, but even more so for people in our community who are already living with a life-limiting illness.
St Margaret’s Hospice Care is determined to continue doing everything we possibly can for those who need our care and support.
Inevitably, the measures to combat the spread of the virus and protect those most vulnerable have led to some changes in how we deliver our services:
- To protect our patients and their families, we have suspended all day hospice services and reduced outpatient services in Taunton and Yeovil
- We continue to offer support to patients and families via our 24-hour adviceline – which is proving even more of a lifeline than usual for those self-isolating at home
- Our Community Team are carrying out essential visits across the county
- Our In-patient Unit continues to operate as normal. To minimise the risk of infection for our patients and staff, we have introduced an interim visiting policy.
You can find more details here: www.st-margarets-hospice.org.uk/coronavirus-guidance
These changes will be kept under constant review and we hope to get back to normal as soon as possible. We will continue to monitor the situation and follow all instructions and guidance from the Government.
While all hospice staff are designated as key workers, our non-clinical staff are working from home where at all possible – and our IT team have been pulling out all the stops to make this happen.
We are also working closely with neighbouring hospices, our supporters, friends and partners in the NHS as part of the coordinated effort to respond to the biggest public health emergency in our lifetimes. This includes sharing our expertise in end of life care with healthcare professionals treating Coronavirus patients in hospitals and within the wider community.
As part of contingency planning since this outbreak began, our partners in the NHS have been looking at many options in order to create as much opportunity as possible to care for our Somerset community. We have been in discussions with the NHS in Somerset to explore the option of using our Yeovil building to create additional hospital bed capacity. We are pleased to be able to support our NHS colleagues in these exceptional circumstances by making this space available if they are able to utilise it. The cost of equipping these facilities would be met by the NHS and this temporary unit would be staffed by the NHS, if and when it is required.
I would like to thank all our staff and volunteers for the professionalism, flexibility and dedication they have demonstrated in these unprecedented circumstances.
Like most charities and businesses, the current situation is impacting on our income:
- Our 34 shops across Somerset are all temporarily closed until further notice, with effect from Monday 23 March
- We have postponed all our fundraising events due to take place before the end of May – including the Great Somerset Cycle and the Taunton Colour Run. We are keeping the situation under review, and if more events need to be postponed we will contact everyone who has already signed up. Our aim is to reschedule these events at a later date in the year
- Our Weekly Prize Draw canvassers are not currently able to carry out their work recruiting new players, through the Weekly Prize Draw continues to operate as normal
- And at the same time, community fundraising events in aid of St Margaret’s – from charity concerts to bingo nights and bucket collections – have inevitably been postponed or cancelled.
We have been touched by the enormous acts of kindness our community has already shown during this crisis. We would especially like to thank the businesses who have donated food and flowers to our hospices.
I know many people will be worried about their own financial situation, but for those who are able to, you can find out more about how you can support us here: www.st-margarets-hospice.org.uk/your-support-matters
On behalf of all our patients and staff, thank you for enabling us to continue caring in these challenging times – knowing we are shouldering this together is a great comfort.
This is a fast moving situation, so please keep checking our Coronavirus guidance page for the latest information: www.st-margarets-hospice.org.uk/coronavirus-guidance
Fondest best wishes
Ann Lee, CEO