Hospice patients on move ahead of refit

Nicole Murray is trekking across Cuba to raise money for Marie Curie
Nicole Murray is trekking across Cuba to raise money for Marie Curie
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Patients from the Marie Curie Hospice are to be moved to a specially adapted ward at the Western General as the hospice undergoes a six-month, £2.7 million refurbishment.

Inpatients from the hospice in Fairmilehead will be accommodated on the hospital’s ward 15 from May 10, with day services and complementary therapies on ward 12.

The wards are usually used to provide extra capacity during the winter, and so are currently standing empty.

Marie Curie’s community nursing team will also continue to visit patients at home, working from a new temporary office at the Roslin BioCentre.

The refurbishment at the hospice will see the introduction of direct access from patient rooms to balconies and the garden, along with en suite bathrooms and more space around the beds.

Margaret White, assistant director of hospices for Marie Curie, said: “We’re very grateful to NHS Lothian for accommodating us whilst we carry out a much-needed refurbishment of our hospice. We’d like to reassure all of our patients and their families that, during the next six months, we’ll continue to run the same high-quality services and offer the same facilities, just as we do normally in the hospice.”

Medical director for NHS Lothian, Dr David Farquharson, said: “We are pleased to be able to host the Edinburgh hospice temporarily in the Western General Hospital. We are working with Marie Curie to further improve our services, including delivering more choice for people around where they are cared for towards the end of life, and how the hospice and NHS Lothian teams can work together to support this.”

Ms White said the hospice would still need to meet its demanding fundraising targets. “We’d also like our supporters to know that we are still reliant upon donations for running costs. We need £4.2m a year, or more than £10,300 a day, to keep the hospice open.”

One of this year’s major fundraising events for Marie Curie in Edinburgh is a fundraising trek in Cuba, in November.

Among those taking part is Penicuik High School pupil Nicole Murray, 17.

Her mother Donna, 43, a nurse at the Sick Kids, died at the hospice from stomach cancer when Nicole was just 12. Nicole said: “It was hard to understand at first, because I was so young and it all happened so fast. They’d found out she had the cancer and eight weeks later she passed away. She was in the Marie Curie hospice for two weeks.

“Marie Curie were really good. I think Mum was quite reluctant to go in at first, because she knew she wouldn’t be coming back out, but they were a great help. You could speak to them about anything.”

The year after losing her mother, Nicole started fundraising, arranging the first of a series of annual concerts at her school.

Since then, she has raised more than £5000 through concerts and raffles, and hopes to hit £7000 by the time she sets off for the trek in November.

She said: “It all took a while for it to sink in, but after that, the only thing I wanted to do was help.”

There are still places available on the trek. For information on that and other fundraising opportunities, see www.marie curie.org.uk/trekforedinburgh 2012 call 0131-470 2290.

This and all other numbers at the hospice, will remain unchanged for the duration of the temporary relocation.