Campaigners launch bid for 10-bed hospice …

The Louise Hamilton Centre next to the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston.< />
<p>View of empty land behind the centre. Picture: James Bass” width=”250″ /></a> <em>The Louise Hamilton Centre next to the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston. View of empty land behind the centre.</p>
<p>Picture: James Bass</em>       </p>
                <a href=Sam Russell
Friday, November 8, 2013
10:04 AM

Two hospices could be built in the region, after a fundamental disagreement between two charities for the terminally ill.

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The charities East Coast Hospice (ECH) and Palliative Care East (PCE) do not see eye to eye over where a new hospice should be built. ECH already plan to build a 4m hospice in a field near Hopton, and now PCE has launched a bid to build a second 3m hospice in the grounds of the James Paget University Hospital (JPH) in Gorleston. PCE runs the Louise Hamilton Centre beside the JPH, which currently offers information and emotional support but lacks inpatient beds.

And the split between PCE and ECH stems from the refusal of ECH bosses to site a hospice by the hospital, providing beds at the Louise Hamilton Centre. The disagreement has already seen a number of ECH trustees – including chairman David Nettleship step down. And JPH bosses offered ECH land by the Louise Hamilton Centre, but ECH bosses refused it.

Dr Bernadette Auger, medical lead for specialist palliative care, who works with PCE, explained: The bit we fundamentally disagree on is where the hospice should be. It will confuse the public that there are two parallel fundraising projects going on, but ECH organisers remain convinced that the hospice should be separate from acute care. We feel palliative care needs to be talked about earlier.

The 3m hospice would be built on land behind the Louise Hamilton Centre, and would comprise 10 inpatient bedrooms opening onto a central courtyard. Construction costs would be paid for using PCE cash and fresh charity donations, with several major donors waiting in the wings. It is hoped this would take no more than two years, and that NHS cash could help cover running costs once the hospice is built.

Mrs Auger said discussions are ongoing with the hospital over this, and she said she is happy to continue discussions with ECH. Her announcement comes a week after Great Yarmouth woman Louise Gedge, who has terminal cancer, made a heartbreaking plea for a hospice by the hospital. Having experienced the current system firsthand, she said stress for the dying would be greatly reduced if all care were in the same place and it would encourage people to seek help sooner.

Roberta Lovick, mother of the late Louise Hamilton, who the centre is named after, said she was greatly moved by the words of Mrs Gedge. She wrote: I will do everything within my power to realise Mrs Gedge s wish for a hospice attached to the Louise Hamilton Centre, at the JPH. As anyone who has visited our centre knows we already provide many services which include benefits advice, counselling, complementary therapies, music and art therapy and much more.

I have always felt that we needed to establish phase one before we embarked upon phase two, of this modern approach to hospice care. The bedded unit would allow us to provide hospice care for ten patients and their families. As we are already well established, with the help of the public, the next stage could become a reality in the not too distant future.

Mrs Gedge is not alone, there are many like her who need to know that the help that they require is situated next to the hospital where they feel safe. Together we can make this possible. Christine Allen, chief executive of the JPH, said the option of a 3m hospice by the Louise Hamilton Centre is firmly on the table.

But no decision has yet been taken. We recognise there is a need to develop the right services for people in Great Yarmouth and Waveney with complex palliative care needs, she said. The concept of a phase two for the Louise Hamilton Centre is one option, but we need to understand exactly what is best for patients and this will involve further discussion with our commissioners and stakeholders.

The latest development comes as ECH bosses launch the site of Margaret Chadd House, its proposed hospice in Sidegate Road, Hopton, today.

The 10-bed hospice would be built in a five-acre landscaped area near the A12.

Hospice beds already exist at St Elizabeth s Hospice at Ditchingham, near Bungay, but critics said this is not the right solution as it is also not at a hospital site.


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Campaigners launch bid for 10-bed hospice …

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