Palliative care appeal chairman quizzed

Laura Bagshaw THE chairman of a group raising money to build a hospice in Great Yarmouth has denied there was a conflict of interest between itself and another palliative care appeal.

Laura Bagshaw

THE chairman of a group raising money to build a hospice in Great Yarmouth has denied there was a conflict of interest between itself and another palliative care appeal.

Jennifer Beesley was grilled by borough councillors after presentations last week by the two palliative care appeals running in the area - Yare Hospice Care and the James Paget's East Coast Palliative Care Appeal.

Mrs Beesley explained the hospice would cost £2.5m to build and finances would be raised through national grants, not public support. She was unable to provide information on running costs because a business plan was yet to be drawn up although she did say it would be raised through donations.

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Conservative councillor Bert Collins asked: “You can't rely on money you are going to raise. Is this project built on strong foundations to make sure it works?”

Mrs Beesley replied: “You can't guarantee anything.”

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Cllr Collins likened the appeals to buses saying: “For ages there isn't one, then all of a sudden two come along.”

Mrs Beesley strenuously denied there was a conflict of interest between the two appeals saying they would enhance one another.

When asked how much had been raised for Yare Hospice Care, Mrs Beesley answered: “We've had a number of private donations from very generous people.”

During her presentation Mrs Beesley said that public support for the appeal was growing. “Everyone I have spoken has said 'why can't Yarmouth have a hospice?' Questionnaires have been sent out and we've had a very good response.”

She then spoke about the need of a hospice: “Some people do not want the burden of their ill health put on their families and some people who do not have any family do not want to die at home alone. We need a hospice for these people.”

She added that government targets said there should be at least 21 beds for hospice care in the area adding that their proposals would provide 10 beds.

John Hemming, chairman of the James Paget Trust, spoke to councillors about the East Coast Palliative Care Appeal which has so far raised more than £300,000.

He emphasised the need for a dedicated centre to house palliative care support. He said there were approximately 2,700 deaths a year in the Yarmouth and Waveney area and 2,000 of those patients suffered incurable diseases.

“If you assume that someone with an incurable disease lives for three years as an estimate, at any one time there are 6,000 people in this area needing palliative care,” he said.

Dr Patrick Blossfeldt, lead consultant in palliative care at the hospital, said the core idea of the project was “making the end of life worth living.”

He said palliative care was not just about pain management and symptom relief but emotional, spiritual and practical support combined, what he described as the “science and art of medical care.”

“At the moment we do not have a base in order to support all these services. This centre will be more like an oasis rather than a health centre,” said Dr Blossfeldt.

The centre would be built in the grounds on the hospital on the northern side close to the Brasenose Avenue entrance and it is hoped work would start by 2010. It will cost £1.5m to build and running costs will be £150,000 per year.

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