Marie Curie nurses to leave some Norfolk areas as community trust takes over care

PUBLISHED: 14:34 17 October 2018 | UPDATED: 14:42 17 October 2018

The EDP Stars of Norfolk awards. Willie Notley, right, winner of the Volunteer of the Year Award, presented by Michael Wassell. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The EDP Stars of Norfolk awards. Willie Notley, right, winner of the Volunteer of the Year Award, presented by Michael Wassell. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY


Charity nurses who comfort the dying and provide crucial support for families in the final days of life are to disappear from some parts of Norfolk after their contract was not renewed.

Jeanette and Wilbur Notley. Photo: ArchantJeanette and Wilbur Notley. Photo: Archant

There are seven Marie Curie nurses working in north Norfolk and Norwich who go into the homes of the terminally ill, often those with cancer or dementia, in their final days to provide care and support in the difficult hours ahead.

But Wilbur Notley, a fundraiser for Marie Curie of nearly 30 years, said he learned the charity nurses would leave the areas at a meeting in August, with the community healthcare trust set to provide the service in-house instead.

“We were asked to keep it to ourselves,” he said. “But I don’t know how I can go out and ask the good folks of this county [for donations] knowing not a penny of it is going to be spent on Marie Curie nurses in palliative care. We hear it all the time when we’re collecting and someone comes up and puts a £20 note in they say the nurses did so much for their mum or dad. ”

The nurses will remain in other parts of the county but Norfolk Community Health and Care (NCHC) NHS Trust will take over the service in the city and north from March next year.

Father of Jeanette Notley, Cyril Henry. Photo: ArchantFather of Jeanette Notley, Cyril Henry. Photo: Archant

A statement issued by the trust and the areas’ commissioners said the new service would be better for families, some of whom they said had missed out on the night sitting service provided by Marie Curie as it was not available. A spokesman said they had developed “a new and strengthened hospice at home service as a two-year pilot, that will receive more than £1.3m pounds of investment”.

Current Marie Curie staff will be able to transfer to the trust and one member of staff has already done so.

Mr Notley, 73 and from Stratton Strawless, first got involved with Marie Curie when his father-in-law Cyril Henry died in 1988 of stomach cancer, and the support of a Marie Curie nurse was invaluable.

Since, along with his wife Jeanette, 68, he estimates he has raised more than £70,000 for the cause.

The NCHC and CCG spokesman added: “There is no question that Marie Curie and its nurses play a vital role in our communities and we hope will continue to do so. We will always be pleased to talk with Marie Curie about ways in which people at end of life can be supported.”

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