Mountbatten has published its 2018-19 Annual Review, highlighting its largest ever increase in the numbers of people across the Isle of Wight being supported – up by 50% in just one year.

The rapid rise is down to a number of new initiatives to open up Mountbatten’s expert care services. Among them, the launch of the Mountbatten Last Years of Life Coordination Centre which has seen the number of people being supported on any one day rise from 581 people in March 2017 to more than 1320 today.

Reflecting on the rise, Nigel Hartley, Mountbatten CEO, said: “Many people think hospices are just for the last days or hours of someone’s life. The reality is that the way people are dying is changing; we are living for longer, but with many more complex and multiple illnesses. We have adapted to this change and, by opening up our coordination centre, we are able to be there for people who are thought to be within the last five years of their lives – to better plan and coordinate their care so that they can live as well as possible, for as long as possible.”

The annual review aims to dispel some other common myths, including the fact that Mountbatten does not currently receive any financial support from Macmillan or Marie Curie to run its services. It also explains that each and every year, more than £8m must be raised to ensure Mountbatten’s services can remain free to those who need them.

“There is no doubt that this cost will continue to rise, as demand for Mountbatten’s end of life services is also expected to increase,” Nigel continued. “It is a fact that, even with this rapid increase in care, we are unable to support around 500 deaths that occur on the Island every year. We believe that everyone should be able to access some level of support when faced with death, dying and bereavement and we will continue to work tirelessly with our Island community to ensure that no-one is ignored and experiences these challenges without Mountbatten by their side.”

Watch our film about our work during 2018/19

Looking to the future, the annual review points to a new five-year strategy for Mountbatten, which will aim to address this rapid increase in demand. Among the innovations planned is a new volunteer army who will be increasingly based in their own communities. The Mountbatten Neighbours scheme is already running as a pilot project in some Isle of Wight towns and it is anticipated that this will become an increasingly important blueprint to ensure Mountbatten’s ethos and values are spread as widely as possible among the Isle of Wight community.

“We have to do things differently in future,” Nigel concludes. “In the future, more of us will need to be good neighbours to people who have no-one else to support them through life-limiting and terminal illness.  The good news is that with Mountbatten’s expert education, training and support, we are already having a big impact on how people experience death, dying and bereavement. We will not rest until the highest quality of end of life care becomes the norm, for everyone, everywhere across our Island community and beyond.”

You can read the Annual Review by clicking here. You can also read Mountbatten's Quality Account 2018-19 which has recently been published.