Hospice steps up to save closure of hospitals

St Elizabeth Hospice is today making public its proposal to work in partnership with the Great Yarmouth and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group to provide hospice services and end of life care in South Norfolk – and to save two hospitals in the area.

This comes after the Great Yarmouth and Waveney’s CCG released a document in June titled ‘Shape of the System’ outlining their plans to deliver better healthcare for patients in the area, which includes plans to close community hospitals in the area.

St Elizabeth Hospice responded to this document, offering to work in partnership with them and others to explore an initiative to provide hospice services in the area to ensure that all residents of Suffolk have the opportunity to access the same level of care that the people of East Suffolk currently receive.

Mark Millar, chief executive of St Elizabeth Hospice, said: “I believe the public ought to know that in our response to the CCG, we highlighted once again the fact that half of those who die in Great Yarmouth and Waveney, do so in a hospital bed, which is not what the vast majority of people want for themselves or for their loved ones. 

“We have offered to discuss how we might work in partnership with the CCG and local communities to provide hospice care on either the Southwold or Patrick Stead (Halesworth) hospital sites to provide specialist hospice and palliative care in the same way that we do at our Foxhall Road site in Ipswich.

“We believe that with the same public support we receive in the Ipswich area we can offer people an alternative to hospital care, help the hard pressed NHS budget and save at least one of these two hospitals.”

Last week, the CCG published another document incorporating the feedback they had on ‘Shape of the System’, but made no reference to St Elizabeth Hospice’s response, offering to work together so that people in the area can benefit from a better service.

Mr Millar added: “Our new five year strategy outlines our plans to work in partnership with other providers in East Suffolk and Waveney so that we can meet the currently unmet needs of those living with a progressive illness or who are approaching the end of life.

“We are particularly concerned that our reach to people North of Ipswich remains limited without a more local, substantial and permanent base from which to service their needs. This becomes significantly more viable for us if we were able to offer support to the Waveney population.

“A logical location for this would be the Halesworth or Southwold area. Whilst this would depend on local fundraising support, we believe that it would be possible to develop a service from one of the existing hospital sites which the CCG have decided to vacate.”

St Elizabeth Hospice has been providing high-quality, vital hospice and specialist palliative care to people in East Suffolk for 26 years.

In 2011, it expanded its services to provide care in Great Yarmouth and Waveney using their own charitable funds. They currently offer day services, therapies and bereavement support in Beccles, Ditchingham and Gorleston.

You can find out more about St Elizabeth Hospice and the expansion of their services at www.stelizabethhospice.org.uk

To read the CCG ‘Shape of the System’ document or to watch the video, visit www.greatyarmouthandwaveneyccg.nsh.uk

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