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New service launched to give people across Northumbria and North Tyneside the choice about their end of life care

Wednesday, 25 March, 2015
New service launched to give people across Northumbria and North Tyneside the choice about their end of life care

Marie Curie and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust launch first partnership of its kind in the country

Leading charity Marie Curie has teamed up with Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to launch an innovative new partnership delivering high quality palliative and end of life care and support to people living in Northumberland and North Tyneside.

The Marie Curie @ Northumbria service brings together innovation from both the voluntary sector and NHS to develop tailored services which ensure people have responsive and personalised care and support for themselves and their families.

The aim of the partnership  to increase the number of people being cared for in their place of choice and to ensure that individuals and their families are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.  It also aims to improve the way care is provided and co-ordinated between the different hospital and community-based professionals and services which support them.

Dr Paul Paes, Head of Service for Palliative Care at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We believe this is a unique partnership, and the first of its kind in the country.  It is a first in the sense that it is a truly integrated and jointly managed, jointly funded and jointly badged service bringing the NHS and the voluntary sector together.

“Northumbria has invested significantly and creatively in palliative care to create the largest integrated palliative care service in the country. The focus of this partnership is to increase our capacity and quality of service by delivering more responsive services: an out of hours, rapid response service alongside new roles supporting families and following patients across service boundaries.”

Karen Torley, North East Divisional General Manager from Marie Curie, said: “This is a fantastic partnership and we’re really pleased to be working alongside Northumbria Healthcare to develop and deliver services for people with terminal illness.

“As the UK’s leading charity caring for people with terminal illness, we know the importance of working closely with local NHS boards to ensure the right care is put in place for people and their families. We look forward to working alongside Northumbria Healthcare to develop this service to ensure people have the best access to high quality care.”

Palliative care is for people living with an illness where a cure is no longer possible. It’s also for people who have a complex illness and need their symptoms controlled.

The first phase of the service has seen the recruitment of the first modern matron for palliative care in the Trust as well as the appointment of a team of nurses to expand the hospital liaison service across North Tyneside General and Wansbeck General Hospitals and the new Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington when it opens in June.

Their role is to support individuals with palliative care needs who are being treated in wards across the hospitals. A unique feature of the service will be for the team to follow patients home in the first 24 hours of discharge to ensure a smooth transfer of care to community teams.

Phase two will see the development of a new community team, incorporating a rapid response service, which will aim to reduce the number of unnecessary hospital admissions for people which can be traumatic for them and their families, and support them to be treated in the community and at home and is due to be launched in the second half of 2015.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s palliative care service currently covers a population of 500,000 people with approximately 5,000 people who may have palliative care needs each year. There are on average over 360 new referrals coming into the team each month, from a number of professionals including district nurses, GPs, hospital and other palliative care colleagues. 

The service is jointly funded by Marie Curie and Northumbria NHS Foundation Trust.