Leading Derbyshire hospice, Treetops Hospice Care, has announced the difficult decision to suspend plans to build a 12 bedded In-Patient Unit on site at Risley.

The decision was made after the hospice identified an increasing demand for palliative care for patients in their own homes and a need to concentrate fundraising efforts on existing care services.

Treetops, based in Risley, provides nursing care and emotional support for adults with life-limiting conditions such as cancer, motor neurone disease and heart and respiratory conditions. The charity provides care for over 1,800 patients and their families each year and all services are provided free of charge.

Our challenge is far from over

Smiling woman

Julie Heath, Treetops Hospice Care Chief Executive

Treetops launched an Emergency Appeal in March, planning for the worst possible financial outcome, as Julie Heath, Treetops chief executive, explained:

“During lockdown we had to temporarily close all our retail shops and cancel several major fundraising events which had a significant impact on our finances.

“Our Emergency Appeal generated donations from wonderful supporters far and wide. We also received contributions from businesses and trusts, alongside the emergency Government grant.

“With this generous support, we are able to continue to offer our services to the local community – for now – but our challenge is far from over.

“We are still unable to organise fundraising events for large groups of people. A drop in footfall on the high street is affecting our newly-reopened shops and Government funding will end soon. We are urging all our supporters to continue to help us at this time.”

Our priority remains to ensure financial security and certainty that Treetops will be here for patients and families for many years to come

The hospice has seen an increase in requests for their Hospice at Home Service, providing nursing care at home for terminally-ill patients at the very end of life:

“We anticipate that demand for our Treetops nurses will continue for the foreseeable future and in a post-COVID world.

“We’ve always prided ourselves on good stewardship and so our priority remains to ensure financial security and provide certainty that Treetops will be here for patients and their families right now, and for many years to come. Unfortunately, this means we simply cannot afford to build and run a bedded unit at this time.

“It remains our aspiration to one day provide end-of-life beds for the local community. We will embark on this again when our current services are secure.”

The ‘Lime Tree Appeal’ to build the bedded unit had generated donations and pledges of over £1million. Donors have been advised of the postponed plans and asked if they would like to direct their support to the Treetops COVID-19 Appeal or other Treetops services.

During lockdown, the hospice adapted its services to continue to care for the most vulnerable patients in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. Weekly Wellbeing calls and ‘Cake and Care’ packages are provided to up to 70 patients.  Bereavement counselling sessions are being held via telephone and video calls. And a new ‘Roaming Nurse Service’ supports up to 50 additional patients each week with a registered nurse and healthcare assistant responding to calls for help with symptom or pain management.

Donations to the Treetops COVID-19 Appeal can be made online here.