Coronavirus: A message from our Medical Director

Tuesday 17 Mar 2020
At the Hospice we have been continually responding to the impact of  the coronavirus outbreak on the people we care for, as well as our staff and volunteers. Overgate is already beginning to feel the impact, and we’re observing the  latest Government advice. With patients’, volunteers’ and staff’s best interests in mind we have taken the following actions:

Day Hospice

As from today, all of our Day Hospice services will be closed until further notice. This includes our Traditional Day Hospice sessions on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, Drop-In Service, Time to Think, A Breath of Fresh Air, Time for Me, Time to Talk, Carers’ Group and What Happens Next? Group. Whilst for most people coronavirus will be a mild infection, the symptoms may be more severe in people with weakened immune systems, older people and those with long term and life limiting illness.

It is therefore really important that we take steps to protect those using our services as well as those working and volunteering for us. We appreciate that for many people this service provides support, advice and information and we will be following national guidance as to when we can safely resume this service.

In the meantime our support will still be available via telephone so please feel free to call for support, information and signposting advice. Phone lines will be manned by nursing staff from Monday – Friday between 10am and 4pm - 01422 387172.  If nurses on the Inpatient Unit become ill themselves, and we are short of staff, the Day Hospice team will of course support Inpatient care.

Inpatient Unit

We are committed to ensuring our Inpatient Unit continues to be open as normal, caring for those in our community who are facing the end of their lives. Our expert staff are prepared to arrange for appropriate hospital treatment of any coronavirus infections should they arise and every effort is being made to ensure the safety of our patients and their families. We ask that everyone visiting the Hospice, for any reason, seriously considers if they could potentially cause a risk to our vulnerable patients.

Counselling Service

Our Counselling Team are currently assessing whether they can provide their essential support via telephone to avoid any unnecessary social contact and travel.

Fundraising Events

Taking on the advice regarding social distancing means that we have had to postpone the Fashion Show that we were due to hold at The Shay this Thursday. We have also decided to postpone any fundraising events for the next three months, until 17th June, to ensure the safety of all of our wonderful supporters.


Our shops will continue to be open this week.  However, opening times may be affected due to staff and volunteer absences.

Volunteer Workforce

Overgate Hospice is incredibly lucky to have the support of over 700 volunteers, without whom our services could not continue. As many of our volunteers now fall in to the ‘at risk’ group, this is already having a massive impact as they follow advice on social distancing. This will continue to affect our services, our fundraising activities and our retail shops.

Whilst the situation is changing rapidly, we are already feeling the effects of this crisis on our financial position. We have taken action to limit any non-essential expenditure across all departments in the Hospice and continue to assess the impact on our income generation. We are already seeing decreasing sales in our shops, a decline in people signing up for events, and fewer people planning fundraising activities. As we rely on our shops and fundraising to raise over £3.3million each year to continue caring for our community, we are concerned about the coming months.

We know that many of you will be facing uncertainty and worry in your own lives.  We ask that you do not to forget about your local Hospice and the members of your community who still require our care.  We hope  that where possible, you continue to show your support to help us continue this important work.

Because you care, we can. 


Rachel Sheils
Medical Director