Modelling demand and costs for palliative care services in England – March 2021

Practice area: Public Policy | Social care
Client: Sue Ryder
Published: 8 March, 2021
Keywords: palliative care services quantitative modelling report

The palliative care sector is facing rising demand for its services and there are growing concerns about the financial sustainability of the independent charitable sector. Financial pressure on the hospice sector was already increasing at the beginning of 2020, but the COVID-19 outbreak brought almost all fundraising activities to a halt, with a substantial loss in income for the hospice sector. Sue Ryder has commissioned this research in response to the issue, which will explore the demand for palliative care services and the associated costs of service provision over the next ten years. Palliative care services are provided to patients who are nearing the end of their lives to ensure that they can die comfortably, with dignity, and without pain.

The analysis undertaken assumed that demand for palliative care will evolve in line with recent historical trends over the next decade and the numbers receiving palliative care services will rise from 240,000 in 2018/19 to 379,000 in 2030/31, corresponding to two thirds of total deaths by the end of the decade.

In recent years statutory funding provided by the NHS covered slightly more than one third of the overall cost of palliative care services, and the annual cost over the next decade was estimated at £350 per annum under this baseline scenario. The additional cost of covering all clinical costs and ensuring the long term-sustainability of the palliative care sector was estimated at an additional £313 per annum (covering in total 70% of all palliative care costs).

The full report can be viewed here.