Hospice dream crisis after NHS funding blow as charity bids for funds already raised
- Credit: James Bass
The dream of an end-of-life hospice in the grounds of Gorleston’s James Paget Hospital was thrown into doubt this week after health care commissioners said they wouldn’t fund the beds.
An appeal to pay for the ten-bed hospice was launched three years ago at the Louise Hamilton Centre which operates 27 services for those with life-limiting and progressive illnesses.
Retired surgeon Hugh Sturzaker said it meant the Great Yarmouth and Waveney district was the only one in the country without dedicated palliative care beds either within the hospital or in a separate building nearby.
MORE: Louise Hamilton Centre’s campaign for new hospice in grounds of James Paget HospitalJPUH director of finance Mark Flynn said: “Local healthcare commissioners NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCG have confirmed that they will not fund specialist palliative care beds on the hospital site as this is not the best approach for our local population.
“Current best practice in care for patients reaching the end of their lives is much more focussed on providing support which allows them to spend their final days in a place of their own choice, such as their home.
“As such, JPUH cannot continue to support an appeal for developing a bedded service which is contrary to best practice and has no prospect of being commissioned and funded. The Louise Hamilton Trust trustees are aware.”
Cath Byford, director of commissioning at NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCG, said: “We are committed to helping as many people as possible to die in the place of their choice and are planning to recommission a specialist palliative care and end of life service to help us achieve this.
“The service will be community-based and will focus on providing end of life care outside of a hospital or hospice setting where possible.
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“However, a small number of palliative care beds will also be commissioned for times when it is not possible to provide end of life care at home.
Mr Sturzaker, however, said the best place for palliative care beds was at an acute hospital. The JPUH already had the patients, he said, but dotting them about various wards lead to “time wasting” and “inferior care”.
“It is an appalling situation,” he said. “On average we have ten palliative care beds scattered around the hospital and it makes sense to centralise them.”
He said 30pc of people died in hospital and that specialist hospice care would help more to die at home.
Meanwhile the East Coast Hospice appeal is aiming to build a hospice, independent of the NHS, in Sidegate Road Gorleston, called Margaret Chadd House, where ten beds are also planned.
A statement issued by the charity’s board of trustees said the announcement “will give, at long last, real clarity to the community of Great Yarmouth and Waveney that there is only one charity who are building a hospice on its own, independent, freehold land”.
They added: “There are many people out there who have given money to Palliative Care East for hospice beds for a number of years. Now the community have been informed of the facts, we hope that the Palliative Care East will donate this money to East Coast Hospice/Margaret Chadd House to help us build sooner rather than later, fulfilling the wishes of the donors.”