A petition to save the Sussex Beacon from the threat of closure has gathered almost 5,000 signatures in just a few days.
It was set up on the 38 Degrees website by media finance consultant Adam Betteridge, from Brighton, after the local HIV charity said that the NHS had cut its funding.
The petition, started on Thursday (15 December), is addressed to the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt urging him to “save ‘outstanding’ flagship HIV charity the Sussex Beacon”.
It says: “An announcement has been made that due to cuts in funding from the NHS, a flagship HIV charity called the Sussex Beacon based in Brighton will be forced to close services.
“The Sussex Beacon provides essential services to people living with HIV from across the entire UK.
“The government must please ensure that sufficient funding is provided to the Sussex Beacon to enable it to continue providing all of its services both now and in future.”It adds: “The Sussex Beacon provides specialist support and care to people living with HIV through inpatient and outpatient services. It helps hundreds of people living with HIV each year and was rated ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission in September.
“Changes to local commissioning arrangements have led to a reduction in funding from some statutory funders. The Sussex Beacon has already lost funding with further cuts likely to follow in the near future.
“The charity costs over £2 million a year to run and the charity trustees say they cannot continue to absorb these cuts.
“While many people living with HIV are now able to live long and healthy lives, there are still many who need specialist services.
“Last year the Sussex Beacon’s inpatient unit had 233 admissions and was full for the majority of the year. It provided over 2,000 bed nights, relieving pressure on both health and social care services in Sussex.”
Mr Betteridge praised the response and urged more people to sign the petition and use the hashtag #SaveTheSussexBeacon.
The petition is at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/savethesussexbeacon.