The boss of an under-threat HIV charity said he was ‘delighted’ that more than 10,000 have signed a petition calling for it to be saved.
Brighton-based charity The Sussex Beacon is facing the prospect of closing services, including its ten-bed inpatient unit, following a reduction in government funding.
It provides specialist support and care for hundreds of people living with HIV in Sussex each year and was rated ‘outstanding’ by health watchdog the Care Quality Commission in September.
But the charity said changes to local commissioning arrangements have led to a reduction in statutory funding, and as the charity costs over £2 million a year to run, it cannot continue to absorb the budget cuts.
The petition to save The Sussex Beacon is targeted at the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt and NHS England. Now it has reached 10,000 signatures, staff are working with supportive local MPs to ensure it makes an impact in parliament, raising awareness of the charity’s position and highlighting the level of public support.
Simon Dowe, chief executive of The Sussex Beacon said: “Since we announced that these funding cuts are threatening our services, we’ve had an outpouring of support, which we’re incredibly grateful for. Service users, colleagues in the health and HIV sectors, MPs and local people have given us their backing as we try and find a way to keep our services open.
“We’re delighted to hit 10,000 signatures on the petition as we feel it demonstrates to commissioners and the Department of Health how valued we are. If we are forced to close services, not only will it have an impact on some of the most vulnerable people with HIV locally, it will also put significant additional pressure on both health and social care services in Sussex as they try to fill the gap. We’re doing all we can to avoid closing services, while also supporting our service users and staff at this difficult time.”
He said the charity is continuing to explore a variety of options to try and secure funding.
To view the petition, click here.