Leeds hospices welcome Rachel Reeves to discuss palliative and end-of-life care

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Rachel Reeves in conversation with her constituent Jane who's husband was cared for by the Sue Ryder team

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves MP visited Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice in Headingley last week to discuss palliative and end-of-life care.

The Labour MP for Leeds West was joined at the hospice by Sue Ryder’s Chief Executive, Heidi Travis, Kerry Jackson OBE, Chief Executive of St Gemma’s Hospice and Toby Porter, Chief Executive of Hospice UK for the visit on Friday.

Following discussions around the challenges facing hospices today, Paul Musgrave, Service Director at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice, gave Ms Reeves a tour of the hospice and Inpatient Unit, where she had the chance to speak to some of the clinical staff on duty and to learn more about the care hospices provide.

She also had the opportunity to talk to local constituent Jane, from Bramley, whose husband was cared for by the Sue Ryder hospice team.

Paul Musgrave, Service Director at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice said: “This was a brilliant opportunity to highlight the stark challenges hospices face in continuing to deliver end-of-life care in the face of rising costs and a predicted increase in the number of people who will need this care.

“We are grateful to Jane, whose husband was cared for at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice, for meeting with Rachel to share her first-hand experience of the care hospices like Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice give. By sharing her words Jane really helped highlight the vital role of hospices.

“We play a vital role in our local communities. We provide high quality, personalised palliative care and support acute and community services to manage demand. We also help reduce hospital admissions, support discharges and support care and deaths in local communities too. Ultimately, hospices help reduce the burden on wider health and care services. But despite this, hospices like Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice and St Gemma’s rely on fundraising support from their local communities to fund and sustain this level of care. 

“And yet there is more which needs to be done. Not all those who would benefit from hospice care are currently able to access it, and people’s needs are changing. Hospices want to work with government and decision makers to make sure these needs are met, so we really welcomed this great opportunity to have this conversation with Rachel.”

Following the visit Rachel Reeves said: “We are so fortunate to have two fantastic hospices in Leeds, Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice and St Gemma’s, which play a vital role in our city. It was a privilege to visit Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice where I met staff and heard about the challenges facing hospices, both locally and nationally.

“I particularly want to thank all the patients who took the time to speak to me about their experiences as well as my constituent, Jane, who shared her experience of having a loved one treated by the hospice.”

Kerry Jackson OBE, St Gemma’s Hospice Chief Executive said: “Hospices are such a fundamental part of the health and care community, and it was great to be able to discuss some of the significant challenges we currently face.

“There are financial sustainability and workforce challenges as well as inequality and it is important that we keep these important topics on the agenda. We will continue to advocate for palliative and hospice care for all who need it, continue to innovate and expand our services, and ensure that we make a lasting impact on the thousands of people we support each year.”

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