Hospice set for £2.7m revamp

An artist's impression of the Marie Curie Hospice at Fairmilehead
An artist's impression of the Marie Curie Hospice at Fairmilehead
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A HOSPICE which cares for thousands of cancer patients every year is set to undergo a £2.7 million refurbishment.

Residents at the Marie Curie Hospice in Fairmilehead will be given balcony rooms and direct access to its manicured gardens as part of a new investment in the 40-year-old centre.

The charity’s directors said the move will improve the standards of privacy and dignity offered to patients and their families.

Overall around 2000 patients visit the facility to receive day service treatments, including physiotherapy, spiritual care and complementary therapies. Around 500 a year are treated as in-patients.

As part of the six-month programme, the ward block will be reconfigured to include en-suite bathrooms within each ward room, providing accessible washing, shower and toilet facilities.

To increase the space within each of the wards, six of the multi-bed wards will be extended, with more room around each patient’s bed.

External doors will be fitted to all wards, allowing patients to access the hospice gardens while new balconies will be built for all the first floor wards. The hospice, which has 27 bedrooms, will transfer all of its services to other sites for six months while the work is carried out.

Council planning officials have recommended that councillors formally approved the plans today. Work is scheduled to begin in June.

Steve Hughes, project director for the hospice refurbishment, said: “The Marie Curie Hospice in Edinburgh has provided an invaluable service to its surrounding community for more than 40 years. To ensure that we are able to maintain the high standards of Hospice care for which our nurses are known, it is vital that the building’s physical facilities are also of the highest possible standard.”

It costs £4.2m a year – more than £10,300 a day – to run the Edinburgh hospice, but the services are free to patients and their families.

Around 70 per cent of the charity’s income comes from the support of thousands of individuals, membership organisations and businesses, with the balance of funds coming from the NHS.

Built in 1964 as a nursing home, and taken over by Marie Curie Cancer Care in 1968, the existing four-storey premises was built to reflect the care standards of its age.

Many of the Hospice facilities are now in need of modernisation to meet the changing demands of patients.

Mr Hughes added: “This project will enable the hospice to continue providing expert care within a modern environment by considerably improving the privacy and dignity of patients.”