£5.5m DOH fund to improve hospice facilities across the East of England

Norfolk Hospice gets go-ahead after Government cash boost for care

ANDREW PAPWORTH Thursday, April 11, 2013
9:33 AM

A new hospice designed to meet Norfolk’s growing need for end-of-life care has today been given the green light thanks to a £510,000 government grant.

The money, part of a £5.5m Department of Health fund to improve hospice facilities across the East of England, means The Norfolk Hospice, Tapping House can now confirm it will go ahead with its long-awaited multi-million pound facility near the A148 at Hillington.

Richard Shaw, chief executive of the charity, said the new site is needed to meet the county’s ever-increasing demand for palliative care amid warnings that many people are not getting the care they need.

East Anglian’s Children’s Hospice in Quidenham was also given £308,078 from the government fund, run with the charity Help for Hospices, as North Norfolk MP and health minister Norman Lamb said it was crucial to ensure people get dignified and compassionate care. Mr Lamb said: “Every one of us has the right to the best quality of care at the end of our lives. Hospices play an integral role in helping to deliver this.

“This fund will help hospices across the East of England provide dignified, compassionate, high-quality care and support to people and their families at what is a difficult time in their lives.”

Mr Shaw added: “With this funding of half a million, we have made the decision that we are going to go ahead and start the building.”

The hospice, which focuses on north-west Norfolk but takes referrals from across the county, had already announced plans to move from its current base in Snettisham to a more central location which is more easily accessible to patients, carers and volunteers. It had already obtained planning permission and laid the foundations of the building but only had 70 per cent of the capital funding needed for the project to begin with.

They needed to raise the remaining 30pc – £3.25m – before approving the final plans but Mr Shaw said the latest grant “does get us very close to the finishing line”.

“This time next year, we should be talking about opening the new hospice,” he added.

“We are clearly very delighted and really pleased with moving towards the total we need to build the brand new hospice. We will hopefully continue to get support of organisations making donations – the message is that everyone can now see this is really going to happen.

“There is an overwhelming financial case in support of an independent hospice. There is great demand and we could take on some of that workload. All the money raised in Norfolk is going to stay in Norfolk.”

The European Association for Palliative Care has estimated that 30 in-patient beds are needed to cover the population of west Norfolk and the Fens.

The Norfolk Hospice, Tapping House said its current site in Snettisham is already overdeveloped and has problems with power supply and sewage disposal, meaning it lacks the potential for the further development that is needed to meet the needs of the area.

David Praill, chief executive of Help the Hospices, said: “Currently, too many people do not get the care they want or need and the numbers needing care continue to increase.

“Together, we face the challenge to ensure that people receive the best possible care at the end of life, irrespective of where they choose to be cared for, where they live or what condition they have.

“This funding will make a huge difference to the quality, dignity and compassion of the care provided.

“Investment in hospices is vital so they can continue to innovate, modernise and expand in order to meet the growing needs of the communities they serve.”

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg added: “This extra funding will help bring hospices up-to-date so staff and volunteers can work in modern environments, helping them to continue to provide wonderful support with compassion and kindness.

“Patients will see a huge difference in their surroundings that play a considerable part in helping them psychologically and physically.”