First hospice beds for Waveney and Great Yarmouth opened in Ditchingham

THE first palliative care hospice beds in the Waveney and Great Yarmouth area have been officially launched.

Three beds and palliative day care services were unveiled at All Hallows Hospital, in Ditchingham, near Bungay, on Monday by Lady Bacon.

This marked a significant step forward for healthcare in the region allowing patients to stay closer to home after the investment from St Elizabeth Hospice.

Lady Bacon said: 'It is an incredible pleasure to be here. This is something that has to be part of the future and I personally feel it is a very positive move that will be an important service across the counties.'

The Ditchingham services form part of a �2.2m investment in Waveney and Great Yarmouth from St Elizabeth Hospice, which is also offering day services at Beccles Hospital and Crossroads Care Waveney, in Lowestoft, and an outpatient's clinic at Cutlers Hill surgery, Halesworth.

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It also intends to open a day service at Headway, in Great Yarmouth in September.

St Elizabeth Hospice's chief executive Jane Petit said: 'We think as a group of organisations we can provide that level of care that has been missing - and there is already very good work going on.'

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John Randle, chairman of All Hallows Healthcare Trust, said: 'What a great pleasure and privilege for All Hallows to be working with St Elizabeth on a venture which will bring huge benefits to the people of this area, particularly in terms of end of life care.'

The beds were first opened to patients living life with a progressive illness on April 1 and one of those currently using the service is Archie McCue, of Great Yarmouth.

Mr McCue, who has lung cancer, had not picked up his guitar for 20 years but yesterday rekindled his love of the instrument thanks to music therapy at the hospital.

Mr McCue, 57, said: 'I never knew a place like this existed. It takes my mind off the pain just for a small while.'

He added: 'It is fantastic. Hour-by-hour I feel I am getting better.'

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