Kettering hospice appeals for support for new home

Cransley Hospice needs a new home by 2023 to safeguard its future

By Sam Wildman
Tuesday, 25th February 2020, 6:00 am

A Kettering hospice has appealed for support as it searches for a new home - with the north of the county potentially facing zero inpatient beds if it can't find one by 2023.

Cransley Hospice's lease on its cramped nine-bed inpatient unit adjoining St Mary's Hospital is nearing an end and won't be renewed by landlord Extracare.

The best solution is to build a new hospice - possibly as part of a larger health or social care development - initially to replace the existing nine Cransley beds only, but with the capacity to expand in future. A location in north Northamptonshire needs to be found as soon as possible. If a new home cannot be found the hospice beds will be lost, leaving none in the north of the county.

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L-R: Dr Mary Holloway, Hospice Trust CEO Peter Kelby, Matron Jo Rogers, Nurse Pauline de Chastelain, Technical Instructor Carolyn Hales.

Building a new hospice will cost £8.5m. The Cransley Hospice Trust has committed to raising at least £3m and is seeking support from the local health and care system to provide the balance.

Peter Kelby, chief executive of Cransley Hospice Trust, said: “We have an exciting vision to build a new hospice for the 21st century.

"This is a fantastic opportunity to create something which future-proofs our service."

For more than 20 years, the charity has provided compassionate end-of-life care and support for thousands of patients and their families across north Northamptonshire.

In 2018 alone they provided inpatient care for almost 200 patients with 4,000 home visits.

The hospice’s care regularly prevents the need for 999 ambulance journeys, A&E visits and hospital admissions, easing demands on the local NHS.

Mr Kelby said: “Achieving this (the new home) is crucial. We cannot allow a situation where people in the north of our county have to travel to Northampton or beyond for inpatient hospice care.

"This would be especially difficult for anyone without their own transport.”

The charity has launched a campaign to win public support. People are being asked to sign a charter calling for hospice beds to remain in north Northamptonshire.

This can be done online at www.cransleyhospice.org.uk/cransley-hospice-charter/ or in person at the Cransley Hospice shop or cafe in Horse Market, Kettering. The campaign will also be promoted on social media using the hashtag #helpuskeepitlocal.

Cransley Hospice opened in November 1998 in Sunley Court adjacent to St Mary's Hospital. Founder Dr John Smith was instrumental in achieving a lease for the current hospice building and fundraising began.

Over time, the hospice became well-established as part of the NHS. In 2012, the Cransley Hospice Trust was created as an independent charity. The trust works with Cynthia Spencer Hospice in Northampton and the NHS to commission hospice services for the whole county. They raise funds for services in the north of Northamptonshire - providing £1.4m in 2018 through popular events including the Bubble Rush race, Strictly Kettering and Cransley Hospice Road Race.

Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is paid to provide hospice services, which are funded through money raised by the Cransley and Cynthia Spencer charities (30 per cent) and through the Nene and Corby CCGs (70 per cent).

Projections show that the number of specialist palliative care beds needed for north Northamptonshire to support both cancer patients and those with other life-limiting conditions will need to double to 18 by 2028.

The hospice is not publicly fundraising for a new hospice at this stage but is likely to launch an appeal is they can secure support from the local healthcare system.