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Pressure builds on end of life charity in Kenton as two nearby hospices close

PUBLISHED: 08:15 16 January 2019

Patients at St Luke's Hospice day care centre in Kenton.

Patients at St Luke's Hospice day care centre in Kenton.

Archant

A Kenton hospice that relies on public donations has seen its caseload soar after two nearby centres offering end of life care closed “temporarily”.

St Luke’s Hospice in Kenton Grange, which offers free care to some of Brent and Harrow’s most vulnerable residents, says it is determined to maintain standards – but needs help.

Pembridge Hospice in North Kensington has shut its in-patient unit “due to difficulty recruiting a replacement specialist palliative care consultant”, without which it can’t operate safely.

Meanwhile, the Michael Sobell inpatient unit in Northwood has moved to a nearby cancer unit “due to concerns about the building’s physical state”.

Of the £3.5million St Luke’s costs to run each year, only a third comes from the NHS. The rest comes through donations and fundraising.

Rachel Wagstaff, director of fundraising, said: “We are continuing to see a heightened pressure on our resources due in part to recent closures of two neighbouring NHS hospices, which may or may not be temporary. As a result, we have seen an increase in the number of patients being referred to us [and we are] caring for over 1,600 local people a year.

“There are no changes to the high level of care because we’re dipping into our reserves. [But] to have a sustainable model and continue to deliver free specialist care for people now and in the future we do urgently need increased support.”

The charity cares for patients approaching the end of their lives with multiple conditions. It runs “hospice at home” care, an advice line, training in end of life care for GPs and care homes, an outpatient clinic, and the Woodgrange Day Centre.

Ms Wagstaff added: “We are engaging with the NHS to ask for increased funding. We are also making our needs known to our local community while looking to gain efficiencies where possible.

“The community is incredible. They provide a huge part of the funding by donating and playing our weekly lottery. We also rely quite heavily on the generosity of people remembering to leave a gift to us in their will – that’s a huge reason why we have been sustainable in recent years. A lot of local people know somebody we’ve cared for. The community makes possible what we do.”

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