Six palliative care beds and new end of life community service for patients in Great Yarmouth and Waveney
- Credit: ECCH
Palliative care beds will finally be made available for patients in Great Yarmouth and Waveney as a new service is set to be launched.
In October, Norfolk county councillors raised concerns over the care of the dying in the county, as it was revealed there was a shortage of 82 specialist beds and massive variation in services.
Councillors at the Norfolk County Council health overview and scrutiny committee (HOSC) heard in November how there was 'unequal provision of hospice and specialist palliative care in-patient facilities across the county with no beds available in the Great Yarmouth and Waveney area'.
But a £207m agreement with social enterprise East Coast Community Healthcare (ECCH), which will run for seven years, will see six beds opened at Beccles Hopsital, with more available on a flexible basis in local care homes.
The new specialist palliative care service, which will be delivered in partnership with St Elizabeth Hospice, will also include a consultant-led community-based service, so patients have access to palliative care 24 hours a day, seven days a week - which was not available previously
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Diabetes will also be a focus of the new service, including one-stop-shop diabetes clinics. And a number of specialist services will be moving to the community from the James Paget University Hospital, including stoma nurses, respiratory nurses, cardiac rehabilitation nurses and heart failure nurses.
ECCH will also be working IC24 to improve access to out of hours community services.
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ECCH's director of operations Adele Madin said: 'We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded this contract. It means we can build on the work we have achieved so far in providing community services across Great Yarmouth and Waveney, and make real our aspirations for innovative, integrated healthcare, improving the health and wellbeing of our communities. I feel very proud of all our staff, both those who put so much time and effort into devising the new model of care and those whose dedication and 'can do' attitude on a daily basis has earned our social enterprise an enviable reputation for providing the high quality care.'
Dr Liam Stevens, Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) chairman, said: 'We are looking forward to the developments that will be made in the services provided to patients across Great Yarmouth and Waveney. We are particularly pleased by ECCH's ongoing commitment to work closely with GP practices, the hospital, mental health, social care and the voluntary sector to improve services for patients.
'By going through this process of re-procuring our community services we have been able to develop plans for a number of improvements to the service that patients will see. A key benefit is the development of a new specialist palliative care service which will include 24/7 access to advice and support for patients, their families and any professionals caring for them.'
The new services will launch on April 1.
Could hospice now be built?
Health bosses have said they hope to see a hospice built for Great Yarmouth and Waveney within the next seven years - but no money would be given to the charity hoping to build one.
Melanie Craig, chief officer at Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCG, and Jonathon Williams, chief executive at East Coast Community Healthcare, said they would like to see a hospice built for the area in interviews on Friday morning.
Previously concerns were raised that money was not being raised fast enough for East Coast Hospice (ECH) - the charity hoping to build a facility in Gorleston. But Mr Williams said he hoped by working together that could now be done and more money would be attracted, potentially from government grants, by various organisations working together. However a CCG spokesman confirmed no money would be given to ECH under the new seven-year contract.
Jennifer Beesley, chairman at ECH, told BBC Radio Norfolk that she recognised the charity was not currently in the position to build the hospice but she hoped to be soon, and she wanted to work with all the agencies involved to see how her charity could contribute.