Medical charities take a COVID-19 hit

Cancer Research UK has announced its intention to cut funding grants as a result of the uncertainty caused by the current coronavirus situation. In the statement the charity mentioned that they are anticipating a drop of 20-25 percent in funding income, which is a deficit that will present an almost insuperable challenge to make up.

The reduction in funding is a direct consequence of the pandemic. The charity sector has been especially hard hit by the virus as donors simply have less to give. For Cancer Research UK the impact goes beyond this, as the COVID-19 pandemic has already had a negative impact on research labs – with a high proportion of those working on cancer research being redeployed to deal with the deteriorating clinical situation.. Iain Foulkes, Professor Karen Vousden and Professor Charles Swanton explained on behalf of the charity: ‘Universities have closed, laboratories have wound down their activities, experiments have stopped,’ and added that ‘most of our clinical academics, including our clinical research fellows, have been called to the frontline in hospitals all over the country’. 

Many other charities, including Prostate Cancer UK and The Urology Foundation (TUF), are following suit. The £750 million recently allocated by the Chancellor to support the charity sector may go a little way to assist; however, when one considers that the income of Cancer Research UK alone was £671.9 million in the year ending April 2019, it is clear that this governmental support will come nowhere near to covering the losses across the charity world, which is projected to lose a staggering £4 billion as donations dry up.

What is to be done, and what are the longer term implications for medical research? All suggestions welcome!

Comments (2) Add yours ↓
  1. Angela Culhane Chief Exec

    The long term implications are pretty concerning. See also the AMRC letter on Thursday to the Chancellor (and others) at https://www.amrc.org.uk/Handlers/Download.ashx?IDMF=1b9e35d6-65d4-4717-8443-8adc3a0d871c

    April 14, 2020 Reply
  2. Louise de Winter TUF

    I agree, particularly as it appears that the emergency funding for charities does not apply to medical research charities.

    The Urology Foundation has had to postpone the nurse leadership programme we were due to run in April and we are also aware that some of our research projects have been put on hold for the duration. We are writing to our grant holders to ascertain how the coronavirus has affected their own personal circumstances, so we can manage any implications there might be on the future outputs from those projects.

    As yet, we have no plans to cut our research and training budget for this year but there will be an impact on next year’s programmes, as we have had to cancel or postpone fundraising events and other fundraising activities. This means we are facing a significant drop in our income that will affect future research and training programmes.

    However, this crisis will pass and for the rest of 2020 TUF remains ready to receive applications to our small research projects fund, to our nurse travel funds and to our Urology Nurse of the Year award. Do check our website – theurologyfoundation.org – for details.

    Going forward, TUF cannot operate without the support of the urology community to help us fundraise as all our programmes are funded entirely through donations. We are also particularly grateful to all of you in the urology community who fundraise on our behalf. By supporting The Urology Foundation, you are helping to support the urologists and urology nurses of the future.

    Thank you and stay safe.

    April 15, 2020 Reply

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