Dr John Smith: Please back Cransley Hospice lottery

Cransley Hospice has launched a hospice lottery
Cransley Hospice has launched a hospice lottery

A young friend of ours is unwell.

A year ago life was fine, her children had settled into their school in the south of England, she was nursing, content and happy and her husband was enjoying his work too.

The future looked good.

How rapidly it changed, some worrying symptoms led to investigations, a week or two of optimism and talk of cure until the extent of her cancer became apparent.

Treatment, with talk of buying time for organising and, perhaps a holiday with the children, did just that, but now she is sick, her memory failing and her body weaker.

More investigations have given hope but reality is dawning. There have been important conversations, memory boxes made for the boys and sad, sad plans for a future without her.

Good memories will be a poor consolation.

The care that her medical team has given has been good, compassionate and empathic.

When the time comes she would like to stay at home as long as possible and then finally go to her local hospice.

With a young family that would be for the best.

But what if there are no beds available in the hospice and she is admitted to her busy district general hospital instead.

A Government report issued this week describes a lack of seven days a week specialist palliative care, and although care is excellent it may not be good enough.

Good symptom control, good family support takes time and skill, something that many hospitals lack.

What if she decides to stay at home and she lives in an area that does not provide 24 hour nursing support or hospice at home.

When things go wrong, memories remain and they may not be good memories. With the best will in the world the NHS is not going to fund 24-hour specialist support.

Nor is it going to fund an adequate hospice at home service.

It is for this reason, and many others, that Cransley Hospice has launched a hospice lottery.

It is a way of giving regularly and, if you are fortunate, winning as well.

Given time it should provide a regular income stream for the hospice. You can enrol by calling t01536 527407 or visiting www.cransleyhospice.org.uk.

There are also many other ways you can support the hospice on a regular basis.

Good care allows for the “what ifs” and makes the unbearable a little bit more bearable.