We were saddened by the bleak picture of out-of-hours palliative care support in the UK today, as reported in this week’s BBC news. According to the article, a recent study has found that almost 70% of the UK are without a consistent 24-hour helpline for the terminally ill. Addressing this deeply concerning issue is at the heart of our purpose as a charity. At Rennie Grove and Peace Hospice Care, we are determined to ensure this national norm is not the case for our own communities.
Both Rennie Grove and Peace Hospice have long offered 24/7 access to specialist nursing care or advice for people with a life-limiting illness. Rennie Grove hospice at home nursing teams will also visit patients, as needed, any time of the night or day, at home, 365 days a year. That care is provided completely free of charge and is not means tested, with 91% of costs being funded through the generosity of the local community. The service is so valued locally that it recently prompted a local supporter to say “Why would I ever move from the area? Forget school catchment areas, there should be a house price premium for Rennie Grove! We are so lucky to live here.” As part of our imminent merger, a similar 24 hour service is currently being developed for the Peace Hospice catchment area.
But many, many people do not live in the Rennie Grove or Peace Hospice catchment areas. That is why Rennie Grove, Peace Hospice, and a growing network of palliative and end-of-life care services across the Southeast, are doubling down with collaborative working. We are pooling resources, expertise and ingenuity to improve access to high quality palliative care across all our communities.
That ‘serve, reach, strengthen’ vision is the driving force behind the merger of Rennie Grove and Peace Hospice. Together, our combined teams and services will be able to reach a diverse general population of 1 million, with our 3-year clinical strategy aiming to provide a high standard of localised high-quality care for up to 8,000 patients across Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. And together, as a single large organisation, we will have stronger influence in discussions about the future of palliative care provision in our region.
As we approach the Christmas period, 24-hour access to hospice care is even more crucial. At a time when many services are closed or operating at reduced hours, a referral straight to A&E is more likely. That’s the last place someone with a life-limiting illness wants to be spending their Christmas, and it’s probably safe to say it’s the last place our dedicated NHS A&E staff want to see them spending it too.
Every day of the Christmas period our Rennie Grove nursing teams will be visiting local people in their homes, providing expert care, 24 hours per day. This care is provided at no cost to our patients and families and is made possible by the generous donations we receive from our local community.
If you would like to support our vital local service this Christmas, please consider donating to our Christmas appeal.
If you’d like to know more about the care we provide or opportunities to get involved, please join our mailing list at https://renniegrove.org/contact-us/sign-up-for-email/
And if you’re a healthcare professional and would like to be kept in the loop on our clinical news and updates, including our merger and other collaborative opportunities, please join our healthcare professionals mailing list at https://renniegrove.org/for-healthcare-professionals/healthcare-professionals-mailing-list/.