Why hospice must be able to keep its special nurses

Kathleen Quiqley and Father Peter Robertson
Kathleen Quiqley and Father Peter Robertson
  • Fears over funding shortfall
  • Specialist nursing team at risk
  • Families rally round hospice services
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Families and loved ones of patients cared for by a special nursing team have voiced their upset that it could fold because of a funding shortfall.

St Catherine’s 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 shortfall of approximately £400,000 and the funding gap is putting its Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) team at risk.

Kathleen Quiqley, 64, from Longton, received the support of the team when caring for a close family friend, Father Peter Robertson, after he was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour. He died aged 69.

Peter went to live with Kathleen so he could be looked after there. She said: “It was a very steep learning curve and without Tracy, our Clinical Nurse Specialist who came to visit within two days of Peter arriving, I don’t know what we would have done. Because of the support we got, Peter was able to stay at home with us, and to die at home with us. To think that in the future we could be without this vital service is beyond belief.

“I cannot praise the team enough and they have my support 100 per cent.”

Tracey Nolan and Aimee Smith also received help and support from the team when Tracy’s sister-in-law and Aimee’s mother-in-law-to-be Sonja Oliver was diagnosed with a brain tumour last April, aged just 50. Tracey explained: “It was very important for her to come back to her family home and for her to die at home - in familiar surroundings, with the people she loved around her. Without the support of the CNS team, this wouldn’t have been possible.”

“I believe the funding should be made available to continue this service so that other people have access to the same support network that we did. Surely it must be better for people to be able to stay at home rather than being in hospital? For both the families affected and the NHS.”