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Voluntary hospices in England: A viable business model?

“Government policy must address …challenges threatening the sustainability of end of life care provision.”

Hospices are specialist care providers that offer end-of-life and palliative care to patients with life-limiting or terminal illnesses. Voluntary hospices manage around 70% of the available palliative care units in the UK. As charities, they are partly funded by the government but they also have to rely heavily on their own ability to raise funds. This situation that can threaten long term sustainability.


To evaluate the sustainability of palliative and end-of-life care provisions, Mr Grigorios Theodosopoulos constructed a ‘descriptive business model’ for hospices based on the analysis of financial data from the 25 largest hospices in the UK.

While hospices have an annual average income growth of 7%, this conceals high levels of volatility from sources such as donations. The analysis demonstrated that hospices share many of the financial characteristics of a private sector business, especially in their exposure to uncertain income streams. This research publicises how these organisations need financial support in order to offer the specialist care that individuals need.

This is an urgent issue that government policy needs to address.

This research is part of Accounting and Auditing Research Group (AARG).