A HAMPSHIRE hospice has closed its day hospice because of the coronavirus outbreak and has also been forced to cancel a series of fundraising events.

Services provided by Oakhaven Hospice, Lymington, cost £4.8m a year but only 14% of its budget is funded by the NHS. The rest comes from legacies and money raised in the community.

In a statement Amanda Clapham, head of fundraising and communications at Oakhaven, outlined the impact of the pandemic on the hospice.

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She said: "This message goes out to all our wonderful supporters and to those people in our community who need us now, more than ever.

"With the spread of coronavirus and the situation changing by the hour, we wish to assure you that our absolute priority is the care and commitment to our patients and their families and carers.

"We also have a duty of care to our staff and volunteers and do not wish to compromise their safety in any way.

"Our day hospice has sadly closed temporarily, as has the Coates Centre for education sessions and various group meetings, but our team are supporting our patients with regular telephone calls and reassuring them that we remain here for them.

"The majority of our non-clinical staff are working remotely from home.

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"Presently, our in-patient unit remains open to patients and their visitors but we are taking all precautions to minimise risk, with hand-cleansing and checking that visitors do not have any coronavirus symptoms.

"Visitor numbers may have to be restricted for safety reasons.

"Our community services are continuing as clinical nurse specialists and registered nursing teams are currently well placed to support patients in their homes. In addition, Oakhaven Care is continuing to support clients, which is vital for patients who are isolated and in need of help."

But the statement says Oakhaven's future funding is a "serious worry".

It adds: "We are currently postponing or cancelling our events between now and June. This has serious implications as these events would otherwise provide significant income for the hospice.

"Our charity shops will now be closed to the public.

"We naturally understand that individuals and businesses have their own concerns at this time. However, we will be doing everything in our power to be there for our community.

"We hope you will kindly continue to be there for us too as we need you now - more than ever."