Fears over cuts to ‘comfort blanket’ hospice service

Trish and Denis Doyle, who received help from St Catherine's CNS team

Trish and Denis Doyle, who received help from St Catherine's CNS team

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More families have expressed their upset that a special nursing service providing end of life care could close.

St Catherine’s Hospice in Lostock Hall, near Preston, receives a smaller than average grant from the local NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups compared to other adult hospices.

It means a funding shortfall of about £400,000, which puts its Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) team at risk.

Trish and Denis Doyle from Ashton, Preston, had the support of the St Catherine’s CNS team over the past 12 months.

The nurses had cared for Denis as the prostate cancer he had been diagnosed with in 2012 advanced, until his death on Wednesday aged 74.

Trish, 67, said: “Denis actually decided he didn’t want the CNS to visit at first, but a week later he had a really bad weekend and we needed some help.

“We decided to ask to be referred again and we’re so glad - it’s the best thing we ever did.

“Leone, our CNS, was our security and comfort blanket rolled into one. She has got so much knowledge that we were able to benefit from.

“I don’t know what we would have done without the CNS team and it seems completely backwards not to fund a service which saves money in the longer term. Not only does it keep people out of hospital - Denis hadn’t been there since July - but it also relieves the burden on GPs.”

Lesley Urmston, from Leyland, received support from the service when her husband Stephen was diagnosed with incurable cancer in December last year. He died aged 66, at home. Lesley said: “I was worried about where I’d turn to for help but having the CNS team meant I didn’t feel on my own.

“Their support made an extremely difficult situation that much easier.”