Call for volunteers to help Mildmay during this time of COVID-19 National Emergency

UPDATE: Friday 27 March 2020:

Mildmay Hospital needs volunteers!

We are now admitting patients with acute HIV-related conditions, as well as both HIV and homeless COVID-19 patients that are recovering and no longer infectious, so we are urgently looking for volunteers to support our staff and patients during this critical time.

Volunteers have always been central to Mildmay, giving their time, skills and expertise freely in support of our work.

We need volunteers:

  • for one-to-one chats with our patients - befriending (while complying with social-distancing recommendations)
  • to collect essential items from pharmacies and acute hospitals
  • to support our Estate and Facilities team.


If you have the ability to travel, maintain confidentiality and have had a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check done in the last year, please contact us on: or


Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:

In these extraordinary times, it’s essential that we all pull together as part of the national effort to protect the most vulnerable, reduce pressures on our NHS and care system and save lives… Your help has the potential to make a real difference to some of those most affected by this outbreak... I am immensely proud of how the whole country is coming together to help one another – we must continue to listen to and live by the latest medical and scientific advice and through this national effort we can truly make a difference.

'A "continuous tsunami" of ill patients'

UPDATE: Thursday 26 March 2020:

Every hospital bed in the UK needs to be utilised during this unprecedented national emergency and Mildmay Hospital is doing everything it can to ease the burden on overstressed NHS hospitals.

Mildmay is rapidly gearing up to take on early step-down care for patients with acute HIV-related conditions. In addition, it will care for both HIV and homeless COVID-19 patients that are recovering and no longer infectious. Whilst we are still working out the details it’s clear that this will release beds in acute hospitals much more quickly.

NHS hospitals in London are seeing a 'continuous tsunami' of ill patients, says Chris Hopson, Chief Executive of NHS Providers. They are trying to deal with a lot more demand than they have ever had before with a lot fewer staff than before.

Hopson said that, while extra capacity was being brought in - including 4,000 beds at the ExCeL centre in London’s Docklands - hospital chief executives are concerned that it will be used up “very, very quickly”.

Mildmay’s Chief Executive, Geoff Coleman, like many other NHS CEOs has been reassured by NHS England that the funding will be made available, enabling Mildmay to play its part during the COVID-19 crisis. Because the demand for beds is so urgent, Mildmay and other organisations involved are side-stepping normal procedures and admitting patients before their funding agreements are in place, aiming to resolve the funding down the line.

Mildmay, London’s only specialist HIV hospital, made famous by Diana, Princess of Wales, is still under threat of closure due to severe cuts to its NHS funding. As a charity providing NHS services, and not an NHS Trust, when it runs out of money, it will simply have to close.

The Hospital’s #SaveMildmay campaign, which has received worldwide coverage, has over 60,000 signatories on its petition to the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, asking for Mildmay’s unique services to be commissioned directly by NHS England like other specialist services already are, securing its future beyond the current crisis.

During the COVID-19 epidemic emergency, Mildmay is doing its part to help ease the burden on NHS hospitals

Every hospital bed in the UK needs to be utilised during this unprecedented national crisis. We have 26 specialist hospital beds in individual rooms and expertise in infectious diseases. Despite being at risk of closure and our ongoing #SaveMildmay Campaign, we are proud to be able to continue to care for sick and vulnerable people as we have been doing for over 150 years.

There has been lots of media coverage of the #SaveMildmay Campaign, both in print and online. Our story was picked up by Reuters, which means #SaveMildmay has gone global, with our story being reported as far away as Canada and Taiwan.

The #SaveMildmay Campaign

Patients living with HIV are set to lose their vital specialist services if the controversial closure of Mildmay Hospital in Shoreditch goes ahead.

The planned closure, blamed on NHS funding pressures, would close the doors on London’s only AIDS/HIV hospital, made famous by Diana, Princess of Wales when she visited in the 1980s and took the hand of a patient.

The cost – around £5m a year – represents a tiny slice of the NHS budget, and the cost of treating HIV patients in other parts of the NHS would be more expensive. Doctors, patients, MPs and campaigners are calling on the Government to grant Mildmay enough funding for another year, while new sources of income can be found.

Prince Harry, continuing his mother's passion, opened Mildmay’s brand new building in 2015 and it is still the only specialist hospital in Europe providing neurological rehabilitation for people with HIV.

Despite huge medical advances in the treatment of AIDS/HIV since the disease first came to the public’s attention in the 1980s, there are still a significant number of HIV patients in urgent need of the services Mildmay provides. NHS doctors say that this treatment will be required for years to come.

Even though Mildmay actually costs less per patient than acute NHS hospitals and its highly-skilled doctors, nurses and therapists are experts in specialist HIV care, desperately sick patients are not being transferred from London’s NHS hospitals and are blocking beds that are urgently needed by other patients.

Because Mildmay is a charity providing NHS services and not an NHS Trust, when it runs out of money, it will simply have to close. MPs and Government Ministers are considering whether Mildmay’s unique services can be commissioned directly by NHS England like other specialist services already are, but time is running out.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why is it so important to #SaveMildmay?

Mildmay is a charity rather than an NHS or private hospital. It is classified as providing specialist services to the NHS. We are the only UK hospital which provides specialist care for people suffering from HIV-related illnesses and we maintain a pool of expertise and knowledge that is unsurpassed in Europe.

Senior clinicians and HIV support services across London and the UK confirm that there is a high demand for Mildmay’s services amongst people living with HIV. Nearly half of people newly diagnosed in 2018 (43%) were diagnosed late - meaning that their immune system had already been damaged, and they are 10 times more likely to die in the 12 months after diagnosis.

There is also a continuing need for the HIV population as they grow older, both because of the damage the virus has done to their bodies over time or, in some cases, the harmful effect of some of the early HIV medications.

Why is Mildmay under threat of imminent closure?

NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are currently the source of funding for  Mildmay's patients, but they themselves are cash-strapped and we have been unable to agree on a funding arrangement for Mildmay, leading to a reduction in referrals by specialist HIV clinicians. People are instead referred to alternative community services and this is resulting in increased pressures elsewhere in the system or bed-blocking, which is ultimately more costly.

It is fair to say that it has been difficult for CCGs too, having to deal with Austerity for ten years.

When did you first find out about the possible closure?

We have been in dialogue for nearly two years, but it became a reality in October last year as we saw our patient numbers and our finances dwindle past the point of sustainability. 

Why has the NHS said it will no longer fund the hospital?

It hasn’t said so directly. But the severe reduction in patient referrals to Mildmay has effectively cut off the charity’s primary source of funding.

What do you believe will happen to prospective patients?

People will have to spend longer in acute hospital beds before being discharged into the care of community services that are already operating beyond capacity – without any recourse to specialist services that focus on their specific needs, as only Mildmay does.

People with advanced HIV-related conditions won't get our specialist care and a chance to recover enough to lead a relatively normal life in the community. They will be at greater risk of prolonged and irreversible mental and physical disability, and even death.

What will happen to the hospital's facilities?

The charity's new hospital, only opened in 2015, will be sitting empty and so we will do our utmost to try and find a use for it. 


Mildmay has been a charity for over 153 years, specialising in HIV for over thirty. If we survive the current crisis we face, we have exciting plans to reach out to the community and take on the care of a new cohort of people who are extremely vulnerable. In 2020 we hope to be the first specialist hospital for the homeless in London, delivering quality care and treatment to a group that is in greatest need. This new work will be ‘as well as‘ our important work with HIV and not ‘instead of‘.

With homelessness in London and other major cities across the UK increasing, there is urgent need for highly focused, specialist care of the sort Mildmay provides, to relieve the pressure on the larger NHS hospitals across the capital that, whilst able to treat the illnesses and injuries of their homeless patients, cannot safely discharge them back into the communities from which they came.

Our vision ‘Life in all its fullness for everyone in Mildmay’s care’ will be at the heart of the charity and our mission ‘to transform and empower lives through the delivery of quality health services, treatment and care in the UK and Africa’ will be what we are about as we step confidently into the future.

Our registered charity number is: 292058.

Our inspiration and values derive from our Christian foundations. These values enriched and shared by many people, including those of other faiths and of no religious faith, underpin all our work.

Support Us

Your support will make a world of difference to the work we do, and makes a positive impact on so many lives. Thank you for helping us to transform the lives of so many people living with and affected by HIV and complex related health conditions including HIV associated brain impairment.

Our Work

UK Hospital

Mildmay’s Uk hospital is located in East London. We are the only centre in Europe dedicated to rehabilitation for people with complex HIV related health conditions, including HIV associated brain impairment.

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Overseas Work

Mildmay currently supports over 100,000 people living with and affected by HIV in East Africa. Our work in this region encompasses training and education as well as comprehensive health and HIV care.

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