The Cost of Dying Crisis depicted through a Receipt

Categories: Care, Leadership, and Policy.

Sue Ryder lays bare the extensive cost of dying through framed billboard designed to look like an itemised shopping receipt.

Displayed at Regent Arcade in Cheltenham, the stark 16-ft-long receipt, which overspills its frame and trails along the ground, reveals just how much Sue Ryder’s palliative care and bereavement services cost to run.

New data shows the cost of Sue Ryder care has increased by 20% and people needing vital end-of-life care is due to increase by 55% by 2030.

On the 23rd June, 2023, the national healthcare charity, Sue Ryder unveiled a billboard which shows the harsh reality of the cost of dying crisis. Installed at Regent Arcade in Cheltenham, the artwork, which takes the form of a 16-ft-long receipt running along the ground, portrays the extensive costs of palliative care and bereavement support.

The receipt has been installed as Sue Ryder shares new data, outlining the significant unmet need for bereavement support, demand on their palliative care services, and their rising costs – in Gloucestershire and across the UK.

Found on the receipt are ‘items’ such as ‘an hour of Sue Ryder’s expert end-of-life care’, ‘total running costs of a Sue Ryder hospice for one day’ and ‘patient meals for the day in a hospice’; costed in the same way these would be for a typical shop.

However, unlike a usual shop, the total is £0, as Sue Ryder’s palliative and bereavement support is free for patients, their families and people who are grieving. Despite this, there is no Government funding for Sue Ryder bereavement support.

Accompanying the tangible costs associated with palliative care and bereavement services, the receipt highlights the care provided by Sue Ryder’s expert, compassionate teams as ‘priceless’.

However, Sue Ryder is warning that the rising costs of dying paired with the steep projected increase in need for palliative care may mean they won’t be able to be there for everyone who needs them in the future.

They are urging people to help them respond to this crisis, so that no one is left to grieve or die alone.

The artwork has been installed in Cheltenham, where Sue Ryder runs Leckhampton Court Hospice, the only inpatient unit for specialist palliative care in Gloucestershire.

In addition to the inpatient unit, a Hospice at Home service provides care for people in the local community who prefer to receive palliative care at home. Hundreds more people in the area are supported through the charity’s bereavement services.

Caroline Graham, Director of Fundraising at Sue Ryder says: “Our stark new receipt is designed to spark conversations that the reality is, it costs money to die.

We can’t shy away from the fact that Sue Ryder’s costs have risen by 20%, whilst 55% more people will need our palliative care services by 2030. Not only that, our bereavement support teams are providing critical support, which also costs money.

There are on average nine grieving family members when someone dies. We know that grief can’t be reduced to figures and lists, but we know first-hand that the emotional impact that grief can have on loved ones is unquantifiable.

To keep being there when it matters for everyone who needs us, we need people to know more about the cost of dying crisis and donate whatever they can afford, so that no one is left to die or grieve alone.”

Elise Hoadley, Service Director at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice says: “All of the staff at Leckhampton Court Hospice are so pleased that these worrying statistics around the Cost of Dying are being highlighted by this impactful installation in Cheltenham – where many local people will have seen for themselves the invaluable care our expert teams provide to loved ones in their final days.

Our compassionate approach to care makes all the difference in the world to not just the individual, but to their families who also deserve empathy and support during what is always an incredibly difficult time.

However, providing our services – from our medical teams to our befriending service to patients in the community who are isolated – comes at a cost to the charity, and right now costs are rising at an alarming rate.

Regardless, Sue Ryder’s palliative and bereavement support remains free for patients and their families. You can help us cope with the rising cost of dying so that we can reach more local people, when they really need it.”

Anita Williams, wife of Ben Williams, who spent his final days at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice: “The staff who cared for Ben throughout that time are the most amazing people and will always be part of our family. It will always be a special place to all of us who spent time with him there.

I don’t know what we would have done without Sue Ryder’s support. The thought of other families not being able to access their services because of the rapidly rising cost of care is deeply concerning.

I’m supporting Sue Ryder’s Cost of Dying campaign because, like Ben, every person deserves to spend their final days receiving expert care; being made as comfortable as possible and surrounded by their loved ones.”

Chipping Camden resident Mike Pollard, whose wife Brenda was cared for at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice adds: “It’s just a wonderful charity. When we arrived at Leckhampton, the care, love and support was just incredible. Brenda fought cancer for two years, as well as struggling with sepsis and pneumonia. It was touch and go a few times.

She had become frightened of hospitals, but as soon she got to the hospice, she felt reassured, and we found peace. 

She called all the staff her angels. When I look back, she couldn’t have had a better place to spend her final days. The care and love they gave just blew me away.”

Despite the Cost of Dying, Sue Ryder’s palliative and bereavement support is free for patients and their families. You can help us cope with the rising Cost of Dying so that no one is left to die or grieve alone here:


About Sue Ryder:

Sue Ryder supports people through the most difficult times of their lives. Whether that’s a terminal illness, the loss of a loved one or a neurological condition – we’re there when it matters.

For over 65 years our doctors, nurses and carers have given people the compassion and expert care they need to help them live the best life they possibly can.

In order to continue to provide and develop our services and expert care we rely predominantly on income from our charity shops, fundraising activities, and donations from members of the public.

For more information please visit

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