This toolkit includes an action plan for handling crises, and gives examples of potential scenarios your hospice could face that will require either a crisis communications or issues management approach, with example media statements.


You can view the toolkit as a .pdf file.

About this publication


Hospice UK has published this updated toolkit as a resource to offer guidance on handling incidents or issues that could adversely affect your hospice’s reputation. 

In recent years, the charity sector in the UK has faced increasing scrutiny on a wide range of issues, including fundraising practices and staff conduct. As well as generating negative media headlines, we have seen how crises can be played out on social media and issues taken up by pressure groups. Hospices are not exempt from this wider trend. But when it comes to reputation, you also have your own set of challenges. 

As a leading care provider for people facing the end of life and their families, your hospice will always face a certain level of risk. In addition, there are other growing pressures – such as rising demand for hospice care, complex regulatory requirements and financial strains – that could potentially turn into reputational issues themselves. 

In common with other charities, your hospice relies on the support, goodwill and generosity of the public in order to deliver its mission. Strong reputations built on years of hard work can be severely undermined in just a few days if an adverse incident is not handled well and criticism in the media or online takes off. 

However, there are practical steps that you can take to help anticipate and respond promptly and effectively to incidents that could affect your hospice’s reputation. We hope this toolkit is a helpful part of your contingency planning. 

As well as outlining an action plan for handling crises, this toolkit includes examples of potential scenarios your hospice could face that will require either a crisis communications or issues management approach and some example media statements. 

We hope this publication will be helpful and encourage staff at your hospice to anticipate potential reputational risks and take steps early on to plan well and minimise these, as well as to successfully manage the communications for major incidents if they occur.



This toolkit was developed by Suzanne Stevenson, former Head of Media and PR at Hospice UK and Sue Wixley, former Director of Communications and Campaigns at Hospice UK.

We are grateful to Kitty Hamilton of Kitty Hamilton Associates for her contribution in reviewing the content of the toolkit.

This second edition was published by Hospice UK in July 2018. First edition published in March 2015.

Published by Hospice UK in 2018.