A charity which plans to open a long-overdue £3.5m hospice for Norfolk next year has pledged to build closer ties with the county’s NHS services – to ensure patients receive the right care in the right place.

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The Norfolk Hospice, Tapping House, has even recruited a former NHS executive as its new director of care services as it prepares to open its new facility at Hillington in 2014.

Lyndsay Carter’s job will be to oversee a huge growth in the palliative care offered in Norfolk by the charity in 2014, in response to the needs of a growing elderly population.

That will include a much-needed seven-bed in-patient facility at the new building near the A148, as well as more day-therapy services and a review of its existing home care.

Mrs Carter – who joins from the Peterborough and Stamford NHS Foundation Trust, where she was acting general manager for cancer and palliative care services – will also lead a recruitment drive for medical staff and volunteers to provide that expansion of services.

However, the 28-year nursing veteran, who worked as a lung cancer nurse at the King’s Lynn Queen Elizabeth Hospital between 2002 and 2005, said: “The big message is that we don’t want to work in isolation. We want to work together with other health services.

“There is a huge need for us to look at how we provide palliative care, because there are going to be so many more people needing it. We need to look at providing it in a more efficient and equal way.

“The strategy for King’s Lynn and West Norfolk is for the providers of end-of-life care to work together, so we can share the resources we’ve got and use the right resources in the right place.”

Her words appear to chime with those of executives at the QEH.

In October, Dr Mark Blunt, 
medical director at the QEH, appealed for the West Norfolk health community to work together as the hospital seeks to improve after its recent “special measures” rating.

Mrs Carter said it was important to “look outside the hospital to provide services nearer to people’s homes, as that will save the NHS money”. As such, she spent her first two weeks in the job before Christmas meeting consultants and nursing staff in West Norfolk to build relationships and discuss the services needed for the area.

Norfolk Hospice chief executive Richard Shaw added: “A lot of the work we do is about keeping people independent. It is not about the end of their life.”

He said many of the services were focused on helping people to live independently, without needing to go into a hospice full-time – and that the new hospice would therefore “act as a hub of all the various strands of care which we currently offer to patients, carers and their families”.

Do you have a view about how palliative care should be provided in Norfolk? Write, giving your full contact details, to: EDP, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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