Hospice care expansion for West Norfolk and the Fens as Marie Curie Cancer Care and the Norfolk Hospice, Tapping House, join forces.

More hospice beds and care at home will soon be made available to people in partnership with NHS

More hospice beds and a new at-home service will soon be available to people living in West Norfolk and the Fens to allow them to choose where to spend their final days, it was revealed last night.

The Norfolk Hospice has secured an increase of funding from the NHS to help provide four in-patient beds in the west of the county along with extra staff.

The deal with the NHS also unites the Snettisham-based charity with Marie Curie Cancer Care and the Norfolk Community Health and Care Trust to create a Hospice at Home service.

The move has been described by the Norfolk Hospice's chief executive Richard Shaw as a 'massive leap' towards providing the level of hospice care West Norfolk deserves.


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The new provision is expected to be in place in September and is heralded as a 'significant expansion' of the service in the west of Norfolk and the Fens.

Mr Shaw added: 'This is really good news for people living in West and North Norfolk and the Fens because we will soon have a dedicated specialist care resource in the area.

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'We have never had this kind of specialist leadership and ability in this area before and will enable people to be supported in a co-ordinated way in their own homes or in this new in-patient facility.'

Referrals to the service can be made by a range of health professionals, including GPs, acute hospital staff, and community-based NHS teams, as well as by care homes and other residential settings.

Mr Shaw said the charity was now working hard to put a team together which will include two senior nurses and at least three senior health care workers.

Discussions about the site for the new end-of-life care beds have yet to be concluded, but it will be in the King's Lynn area.

Marie Curie will be recruiting two senior health care assistants who will provide practical hands-on care overnight to patients in their homes as well as support carers.

The charity will also provide a discharge liaison nurse service to coordinate patients going home from hospital.

Mark Cuming, commissioning and development manager at Marie Curie said: 'We're delighted to be part of a partnership that will give patients in West Norfolk more choice over where they are looked after at the end of their life. Most people would prefer to be cared for at home or in a hospice and this new partnership will not only enhance patient care but ensure people are where they want to be at a time when it matters most.'

The Norfolk Hospice currently operates a day service at Tapping House in Snettisham but hopes to next year move into a �4m full-service hospice in Hillington, near King's Lynn, which will provide 12 in-patient beds. Currently there are only a few beds available at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn and North Cambridgeshire Hospital in Wisbech for those in West Norfolk.

Mr Shaw continued: 'For us, this is an interim step before we move into our hospice in Hillington. We want to evolve what we are currently doing and scale up the team over time so by the time we move in, the team will already be doing the job we will need.

'We have just gone through the 50pc barrier of the amount we need to raise for our new hospice so we are now in the home run. The foundations have already been laid and we hope to start building the hospice in March and move in late next year.'

The charity is working hard to increase income as its yearly running costs look set to rise from �1.5m to �3.4m when the hospice opens.

'To help raise more money we've gone from having three shops a year ago to 11 shops now, including the shop we're opening in Holt,' Mr Shaw said.

'Going forward, we will also need to expand our volunteer numbers from 250 to between 450 to 500.'

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