St Elizabeth Hospice, which improves life for people in east Suffolk living life with a progressive illness and provides support for their families, is to merge with Waveney Hospice Care, a small charity started 11 years ago, which funds palliative care for patients living in the Waveney district.
Waveney Hospice Care currently funds a day care facility one day a week at Beccles Hospital, an ad hoc day care service at All Hallows Hospital, Ditchingham as well as home care throughout the district.
A merger was proposed and was formally agreed by both boards of trustees on April 7 2011.
Services are set to transfer in May, when the organisation will be known in future as St Elizabeth Hospice.
Waveney Hospice Care’s chairman Malcolm Berridge said: “The merger with St Elizabeth Hospice will enable the continued provision and improvement of adult palliative care in the Waveney area. We are confident that there will be a continuation of the work we have undertaken over recent years and that St Elizabeth Hospice will maintain the ethos of this work and enhance services.”
St Elizabeth Hospice’s chief executive Jane Petit said: “This merger enables St Elizabeth Hospice to work across a larger geographical area covering the north east of Suffolk effectively doubling the number of patients we serve. We believe we can use our expertise to immediately improve services for the Waveney community and in future work to provide a wider range of services which suits the needs of patients in their local area, such as supporting the reinstatement of day care facilities in Lowestoft Hospital.”
Patients and staff have been informed of the changeover.
Both charities provide care free of charge and rely on fundraising and donations to meet the bulk of their running costs. Waveney Hospice Care’s fundraising committee will form a Friends Group to continue to raise funds locally. One of Waveney Hospice Care’s trustees will serve on St Elizabeth Hospice’s board.
St Elizabeth Hospice has been actively seeking to work with other charities and the NHS to develop local services and reach out to more people in the Waveney and Great Yarmouth areas for some time.
The merger announcement comes at the same time as St Elizabeth Hospice has won a 12-month contract to provide an out of hours specialist palliative care telephone advice line to NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney from April 1. It is available to health professionals and their patients and is part of St Elizabeth Hospice’s plan to improve access to its specialist services and advice in that area.